While he campaigned for his position in the White House, Donald Trump frequently praised the controversial whistle-blowing organization, WikiLeaks. In fact, during at least one campaign rally, Trump professed his WikiLeaks love, giving the group’s efforts a personal shout-out with regard to Hillary Clinton and her disputed emails while stoking the energy of his supporters in Pennsylvania.
“I love WikiLeaks!”
At that same campaign stop, Donald Trump (who has already taken to campaigning for his 2020 re-election bid at a Florida rally this weekend) warned the world that information leaks were a virtual inevitability in the information age. What’s more, former reality TV star Trump actually praised the leakers directly, claiming that they had performed a “public service” by publishing DNC emails over the course of the campaign.
“Nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet.”
— Paste Magazine (@PasteMagazine) February 8, 2017
Now, less than a month since being sworn in, Donald Trump is singing a decidedly different tune when it comes to information leaks. While he seemed to find nothing wrong with leaked information when it helped to propel him to an unexpected White House victory, now that his own White House is doing the leaking, Trump wants none of it, reports the New York Times. In fact, over the last few days, Donald Trump has taken to Twitter (a WikiLeaks favorite method of communication) and even utilized much of his recent controversial press conference to attack leaks and those who do the leaking.
In sharp contrast to the praise Donald Trump meted out to WikiLeaks while seeking White House support, he is now calling leaks “un-American.” At least when they are leaks about Donald Trump and his administration.
Much of the recent Donald Trump rhetoric regarding leaks and how scandalous they are is related to the fallout regarding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Last week, Flynn abruptly resigned from Donald Trump’s administration after it was revealed that he had discussed sanctions during at least one phone call with Russia prior to Trump’s inauguration. The content of the phone call became public knowledge due to leaks from undisclosed sources, and after Flynn resigned, Donald Trump began his social media tirade against the leakers of the world.
Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017
Never one to miss an opportunity to trash the mainstream media that has treated him so “unfairly,” Donald Trump also took a swing at the New York Times when denouncing apparently the years-old problem of Washington leaks. Despite just months ago praising Washington leaks that (with the help of WikiLeaks) helped propel him to the White House.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
In his Twitter rant, Donald Trump also took a swipe at the intelligence community, which he’s reportedly had a strained relationship with since before Inauguration Day. Despite Michael Flynn reportedly lying about his conversations with the Russian government, Trump called the “real scandal” surrounding Flynn’s resignation the leak of classified information (presumably, the content of Flynn’s controversial calls).
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
— iPhone Hacks (@iPhoneHackx) February 5, 2017
During his White House press conference, Donald Trump decried the act of leaking information (something that he had previously praised and claimed to love) as a “criminal act.” He even reiterated to get his point across.
“It’s a criminal action, criminal act.”
As Yahoo! News reports, Donald Trump’s newfound dislike of leaked information is a far cry from what he claimed to feel about leaks while on the campaign trail. In fact, during an October 12 Florida rally, Trump actually promoted WikiLeaks, calling it “amazing” and openly admitting that he considered the opportunity to talk about the controversial organization “amazing.”
“One of the big advantages of me having a rather large microphone, meaning a lot of people are listening, is that I can talk about WikiLeaks, and we are live. It’s amazing. Boom, boom, boom.”
A couple hours later, at another Florida rally, Donald Trump went on to say further validate the credibility of Wikileaks.
“I’ll tell you, this WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart — you gotta read it.”
During another rally on the same day, Donald Trump even criticized the media for not reporting more widely on the leaked information coming out of WikiLeaks. During his presidential campaign, Trump claimed that it was “dishonest” of the media not to report on leaks. A far cry from his current Twitter stance on the subject, where Donald Trump called on the New York Times to apologize for reporting on the leaks coming from his own administration.
“Very little pickup by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks.”
Now, just a few short months after praising WikiLeaks, Donald Trump is threatening leakers for leaking information coming out of his own White House. This despite touting the leaking of confidential DNC emails as some kind of public service.
“We’re going to find the leakers and they’re going to pay a big price.”
Not surprisingly, many have noticed Donald Trump’s abrupt about face when it comes to the moral and legal benefits of leaking private information for public consumption. Many have taken to social media to call out the new president for his self-serving change of heart.
Donald Trump "The leaks are real, the news is fake."
Does this f***ing clown even listen to what he's saying?!
— Tommy Campbell (@MrTommyCampbell) February 16, 2017
#DonaldTrump LOVES Wikileaks, HATES Trumpleaks. YES…take leaks seriously. Hypocrite ignoring elephant in the room. TRYING TO DISTRACT.
— Deedle (@deedlerock1) February 16, 2017
— Allen Clifton (@Allen_Clifton) February 16, 2017
Some Twitter users got straight to the heart of the so-called “Schrodinger’s Leaks” situation.
Donald Trump would like you to simultaneously believe that the leaks were of illegal classified info, AND that reporters made them up. pic.twitter.com/dJgm3jarX8
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) February 16, 2017
What do you think? Do you think it’s presidential to support WikiLeaks’ actions against the U.S. government while threatening to prosecute leakers targeting your own administration? What are your thoughts on Donald Trump and his new tune when it comes to leaking confidential government information to the press and public?
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]