During the White House press briefing Monday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed that President Donald Trump was considering revoking the security clearances of former national security officials who have been critical of him post-Helsinki. Asked Tuesday about concerns over the president targeting political opponents by pulling privileges and rights, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan completely brushed them off.
“I think he’s trolling people,” Ryan told reporters while laughing. He added that some of the people named by Sanders — former FBI leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe — have already lost their clearance and that the issue is in the “purview” of the executive branch.
When pressed again by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on the issue and whether this was something that you see in “banana republics,” the Republican leader essentially said the leader of the free world shouldn’t be taken seriously when threatening to target his political critics.
“I think he’s just trolling people,” Ryan concluded, quickly moving on to another question.
Of course, Ryan’s comments drew a reaction from folks in the media:
Today Paul Ryan said Trump was just trolling people by saying he might revoke security clearances
Any bets on who the first Republican to start using “own the libs” regularly will be?
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) July 24, 2018
"Trump's death squads taking out his political enemies is simply 'trolling,'" Paul Ryan, SOON
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 24, 2018
I, too, think it’s totally normal to have a President “trolling” people by revoking the security clearances of his critics.https://t.co/5C30weZVzs
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 24, 2018
“I think he’s trolling people, honestly,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of President Trump’s threat to revoke security clearances of former national security officials who have criticized him.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 24, 2018
Yeah… The Speaker of the House just said that he thinks the President of the United States is just “trolling people.” He then let out a snicker.
This isn’t funny.
Not. One. Bit @SpeakerRyan.
— Jason Page (@TheBackPage) July 24, 2018
Watch the clip above, via CNN.