White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that “of course” President Donald Trump’s comments should be taken as fact “if he’s not joking.”
“The question in simple terms is, when he says something, can we trust that it’s real or should we assume that it’s phony?” NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked Spicer during his daily briefing, referring to the Congressional Budget Office’s reports on Obamacare and its expected analysis of House Republicans’ new repeal bill.
“Yes!” Spicer interjected. “It’s real. Absolutely.”
Members of Trump’s administration joined congressional Republicans over the weekend in preemptively knocking down the non-partisan CBO’s analysis of the repeal bill’s costs and how many people would lose coverage if it passes.
“How can we believe that it’s real when you just told us that it was phony but now it’s real?” Alexander asked, apparently referring to Trump’s comments on the jobs report from his first full month in office.
On Friday, Spicer said that while Trump repeatedly called jobs data from the previous administration “phony” during his presidential campaign, employment numbers were nevertheless “very real” now that he is in office.
“I did not tell you that,” Spicer said to Alexander.
“The President said the numbers were phony then but very real now,” Alexander said. “Can you say affirmatively that whenever the President says something, we can trust it to be real?”
“If he’s not joking, of course,” Spicer said. “Every time that he speaks authoritatively, that he speaks, that he’s speaking as President of the United States.”