White House: Trump is just 'joking' about pardoning officials who break the law for him


Trump really wants his wall, and he will do anything to get it.

Trump promised his supporters in 2016 that he was going to build a big, beautiful wall on the southern border, and Mexico was going to pay for it.

None of that has happened. Not a single mile of new wall has been constructed, and Mexico continues to refuse to cough up the cash. But that isn't stopping Trump from demanding that government officials get his wall built before the next election.

If they have to break the law to make it happen, that's fine with Trump. He'll just pardon them, according to the Washington Post.

And the White House isn't denying it.

"Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons," the Post reported.

This isn't the first report that Trump has encouraged government officials to commit crimes and promised to pardon them after the fact.

In April, CNN broke the story that Trump told then-Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to illegally block asylum-seekers from entering the United States.

Now it seems Trump is offering the same enticement — break the law for him to achieve his goals, and he'll make sure you don't go to jail — to get his wall built. And instead of denying the story, the White House is relying upon one of its favorite claims that the outrageous things Trump says should not be taken seriously or literally.

In fact, Trump's new press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, revived that argument again in a new interview with the Washington Post, when asked whether she thinks Trump lies.

"I don't think they're lies," Grisham said. "I think the president communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren’t necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally. I know people will roll their eyes if I say he was just kidding or was speaking in hypotheticals, but sometimes he is. What I've learned about him is that he loves this country and he’s not going to lie to this country."

A recent CNN report calculated 84 lies in a single week this month. The Washington Post has tallied more than 12,00 lies since he took office. But the White House would have us believe they were all jokes or "hypotheticals."

Now, as Trump reportedly dangles preemptive pardons to government officials, the White House would have us believe it's just a joke. Or a hypothetical. Or something not to be taken seriously. Or literally. Or maybe it will be declared fake news. Anything other than what it appears to be: the occupant of the Oval Office trying to bribe government officials to commit crimes so he can deliver his big, beautiful wall to his supporters by Election Day.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.