President-elect Donald Trump mocked White House press secretary Josh Earnest, calling him “foolish” after days of speculating about the president elect’s role in Russia’s efforts to hack the election.
During a stop in Pennsylvania, Trump told the crowd that he had a “great conversation” with Obama after the election, but questioned Earnest’s role in the White House.
“Although this foolish guy, Josh Earnest, I don’t know if he is talking to President Obama,” Trump said as the crowd booed.
He added that Earnest was “so bad” at delivering the president’s message to the press.
“He can deliver a positive message and it sounds bad,” Trump said.
He indicated that Earnest was out of line, but speculated that perhaps Obama was encouraging him behind the scenes.
“The president is very positive but he is not positive,” Trump said, referring to Earnest. “And I mean maybe he is getting his orders from somebody else. Does that make sense? Could that be possible?”
From the White House podium, Earnest reminded reporters that Donald Trump publicly asked the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, even if he was only joking at the time.
“The Republican nominee for president was encouraging Russia to hack his opponent because he believed that would help his campaign,” Earnest said. “I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber-activity to destabilize our democracy.”
Trump’s spokesperson Kellyanne Conway pushed back against Earnest’s talking points on Fox News on Thursday morning.
“He essentially stated that the president-elect had knowledge of this, maybe even fanned the flames. It’s incredibly irresponsible and I wonder if his boss, President Obama agrees,” she said.
Trump also pushed back against the White House, sending a message on Twitter Thursday.
“If Russia, or some other entity, was hacking, why did the White House wait so long to act? Why did they only complain after Hillary lost?” he asked.