For a week now, the world has been up in arms about Trump accusing former President Obama of wiretapping his tower to spy on his White House campaign. The House Intelligence Committee has demanded Trump turn over any and all evidence he’s got that supports that accusation, and there’s also the possibility that he’s committed obstruction of justice just by tweeting about it.
So, of course, the White House press corps was asking Sean Spicer about all of this during today’s press briefing. He said:
“The president made very clear in his tweet that it was ‘wiretapping.’”
Those quotation marks above aren’t an accident. Watch what he did below:
Basically, Spicer stood at the podium in the White House press room, in front of the press corps, and put air quotes around the word “wiretapping.” Air quotes tend to serve the same purpose as scare quotes in writing – they’re used to create doubt around a word or phrase. Spicer just put doubt around Trump’s accusation of wiretaps. Literally.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Spicer just thought he was placing emphasis on “wiretapping,” or that he’s just clueless enough not to know what air quotes like that imply. But it doesn’t matter what he thought he was doing. It matters what he did, and he just cemented the doubt surrounding Trump’s wiretap accusation.
Featured image by Mark Wilson via Getty Images