One week ago, Donald Trump spoke to The Wall Street Journal and they published excerpts from this interview, but not the whole thing. The day before the interview, the WSJ editorial page praised Jared Kushner for releasing information about the Trump Jr. meeting with the Russians that Kushner failed to initially disclose when applying for a security clearance. Per the WSJ:
The Beltway media are past the point of no return on their collusion odyssey, so there is little chance that Mr. Kushner has put this issue behind him. But as we suggested in these columns last week (“The Trumps and the Truth”), the White House’s best defense against death by a thousand cuts of anonymous leaks is radical transparency on Russia. Mr. Kushner’s statement has provided a template.
It’s no secret that the WSJ editorial page is a playground for conservative causes, and this has led to some questions about the esteemed paper’s independence in covering the Trump administration. Politico obtained a full copy of the transcript, writing that:
The interview renewed questions internally at the paper about [WSJ editor-in-chief Gerard] Baker’s leadership and posture towards the White House.
Baker has defended his paper in the past from criticism, both internal and external, that the broadsheet has been too soft on the real estate mogul and reality television star turned 45th president of the United States.
In an internal town hall with employees in February, Baker said that anyone who claims the Journal has been soft on Trump is peddling “fake news,” and that employees who are unhappy with the Journal’s objective, as opposed to oppositional, approach to Trump should work somewhere else.
There are a lot of unanswered questions as to why the WSJ didn’t release the full transcript of their exchange with the president like every other outlet has, but if they are covering for Trump, this previously undisclosed section of the interview certainly does not look great in hindsight for the president.
MR. BAKER: Consumer confidence at a 17-year high.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Can you believe it? Isn’t that nice. There’s good reason for it, too, and I think we’re doing pretty well on health care. We’ll see.
MR. BAKER: Yeah, yeah.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I call it a motion to talk, you know. It’s not a motion to proceed.
MR. BAKER: The Senate view —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: It’s not — basically, it’s a motion to talk. But once you get that motion, it’s in pretty good shape, once you get in. It’s hard to get in, but once you get in. So we’re going to see. John McCain was a great help, coming in as he did. And so it was something I very much appreciate, and we’ll see what happens. We’re going to know in about two hours.
Hours after Trump said this to the WSJ, McCain cast the decisive vote striking down the health care bill in the Senate.
We can now confirm that Trump’s penchant for having his past words come back and directly contradict the present isn’t solely limited to his Twitter account.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.