WH Chief of Staff Confronted On ‘ABC Sunday’ Over Secret Trump Audio Tape

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The news dropped recently that President Donald Trump’s sister, retired federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, had been caught on tape harshly denouncing the president’s conduct, which she characterized as full of “lying” and “phoniness.” The remarks were captured on tape by Mary Trump, who’s the president’s niece and seems to be one of if not the only Trump willing to honestly assess what their family has done. During an appearance on ABC’s This Week with host George Stephanopoulos over the weekend, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows lashed out against the president’s sister, whose remarks he described as part of “just another day and another attack.” She’s the president’s sister! Is there no one who Team Trump is unwilling to come out against?

Asked about the tape, Meadows told Stephanopoulos:

‘Just another day and another attack that we continue to see, George. I can tell you that I’ve never met the judge. I was at the funeral, I was hoping to meet her there. She didn’t show up for her brother’s funeral. And the president that I have the privilege of serving is not the one that is being described on a 15 hour… secret tape. I mean, what family member tapes another family member for 15 hours secretly? I can tell you this. The president is committed to this country, loves this country. In terms of the one principle that he, not only every morning, talks to me about is — what can we do to serve the American people better, and he’s been very consistent in that.’

Watch his comments in the video below:

Covertly recording a family member is one of the least bizarre things that a member of the Trump family has done. Donald Trump himself once kicked Mary Trump’s brother, Fred Trump III, off the health coverage associated with the family business, which meant that Fred III’s son, William, who had cerebral palsy, was suddenly no longer covered for critical medical treatment. That sort of behavior is miles more outrageous than Mary’s recordings.

More acutely — the job description of the White House press secretary does not ordinarily include serving as a metaphorical attack dog against the president’s own family members. Meadows’s appearance on ABC and his disparaging remarks about Maryanne only serve to reiterate the cult of personality that underpins so much of the president’s team’s operations.

In her original remarks, Maryanne said, in part:

‘His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God. I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit… It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.’

In a terse response released by the White House, Donald said:

‘Every day it’s something else, who cares. I miss my brother, and I’ll continue to work hard for the American people. Not everyone agrees, but the results are obvious. Our country will soon be stronger than ever before.’

The president and his allies have so many hollow promises, and so little substance.

Mary Trump, for her part, has written a high-profile book called Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Mary is a licensed clinical psychologist, and that experience informs her perspective.