The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump was being “tongue in cheek” when he called Democrats “un-American” and “treasonous” Monday for not clapping enough during his State of the Union address last week.
That’s what Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesperson, told NBC News about the President’s remark Tuesday morning. The network paraphrased the rest of Gidley’s statement: “The president, Gidley said, was simply trying to make the point that there are positive things going on that all Americans should celebrate regardless of their party.”
Asked for further comment, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told TPM in an email: “Hogan is correct. He was clearly joking. He was making the point that even when good things are happening they are still sitting there angry.”
As the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff noted, it was a familiar excuse.
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 6, 2018
During a speech in Ohio Monday, Trump criticized Democrats for not standing and clapping during the State of the Union, even when he addressed positive news.
“That means they would rather see Trump do badly, okay, than our country do well,” he said. “Okay? That’s what it means. It’s very selfish.”
“Un-American,” he said later. “Somebody said treasonous. I mean, yeah, I guess, why not? Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.
This post has been updated.