Lou Dobbs slammed Defense Secretary Mark Esper for his “public contradiction” of President Donald Trump and tore into former press secretaries at the same time.
The Fox Business host called out Esper and other administration officials during a panel discussion on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” Monday, criticizing the Defense Secretary for saying he didn’t see evidence to back the president’s claim that attacks on four U.S. embassies were being planned by Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.
(Video: Fox News)
Dobbs targeted Esper’s comments while also criticizing a recent open letter from officials of former administrations demanding a return of regular press briefings.
“We also know what some of the folks in the Obama administration, the George W. Bush administration and, of course, the Clinton administration, the press secretaries… sending out a letter demanding press briefings because we don’t know enough about how our government is operating,” Dobbs noted after saying Democrats have “sold their soul to the devil.”
“It’s not like they don’t have 24-hour a day news stations that are basically blasting everything the president is trying to do,” former Reagan white House political director, Ed Rollins, responded.
“I don’t care what the former press secretaries want,” he added, praising Stephanie Grisham and the work that she has done.
Former White House press secretaries joined former military and foreign service officials to pen an op-ed in CNN calling on Grisham to resume holding press briefings.
“The process of preparing for regular briefings makes the government run better. The sharing of information, known as official guidance, among government officials and agencies helps ensure that an administration speaks with one voice, telling one story, however compelling it might be,” the open letter argued.
“Regular briefings also force a certain discipline on government decision making. Knowing there are briefings scheduled is a powerful incentive for administration officials to complete a policy process on time. Put another way, no presidents want their briefers to say, day after day, we haven’t figured that one out yet,” the letter continued.
Though critics call out the Trump administration’s nontraditional approach, others, like Rollins, argued that the president has been more accessible than his predecessors and the use of social media, especially Trump’s Twitter posts, are more effective in reaching Americans.
“What they need to do is make sure everybody in the administration is on the same party line as the president,” Rollins told Dobbs Monday.
“They sure as hell ought to learn not to contradict the president,” Dobbs interjected.
“You think that would be sort of the baseline, the minimum, that a secretary in this president’s Cabinet would understand not to publicly contradict the President of the United States,” he added. “Talk to the president if you disagree but public contradiction? Who the hell ever saw this before?”
Esper came under fire for the confusing messaging on the administration and events that transpired with Iran as he spoke on “Face the Nation.”
NEWS: @EsperDod tells @margbrennan he “didn’t see” specific evidence showing Iran planned to strike 4 U.S. embassies, despite @realDonaldTrump saying an attack at multiple embassies was “imminent.” Watch more of Esper’s interview on @FacetheNation today. pic.twitter.com/1Nud8waok1
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 12, 2020
“Why he would go out there, why he would go on those shows, why he would even feel the need to parse with them questions of what imminent means and whether he saw evidence. It’s ridiculous!” Fox News contributor Michael Goodwin said.
“You know what they are trying to do. Why walk into a setup like that? Why even go on the show?? he asked.
“You are forgetting one thing. That’s who you work for. The president of the United States. For the United States. It’s stunning stuff. I know you have got a theory that some of these secretaries and other officials are simply intimidated by the national left-wing media,” Dobbs said.
“If you live and work in Washington your whole career, all you know is the New York Times, The Washington Post. They’re going to come after you if you don’t give them what they want,” Goodwin said.
“What I think some of these guys can’t figure out is they are going to come after them no matter what the hell they say,” Dobbs said.
“They work basically for one man…who makes the determination,” Rollins said. “And the great thing about this president, he communicates every day about every 10 minutes. You know what’s on his mind by his tweets. If you read his tweets you know what he’s thinking.”
Dobbs noted that the complaining former secretaries “can’t stand the fact that the American people don’t have a filter between themselves and the president of the United States who says exactly what he means and says it the way he means it.”
“And does anyone want to see more performance from Jim Acosta?” Goodwin joked, referring the CNN White House correspondent who regularly sparred Trump officials, and the president himself, during press briefings.
“Who?” Dobbs responded with a laugh.