In case you’re wondering why the Trump administration has difficulty controlling stories, look no further than State Department Communications spokesman R.C. Hammond.
CNN Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski was on duty Monday evening, just as the Washington Post bombshell that President Trump may have leaked highly classified intel to the Russian foreign secretary and ambassador in the Oval Office was breaking. Since Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was at the meeting, Kosinski was awaiting comment from the State Department to include in her report.
The phone rings, and it’s Hammond at the State Department. He greeted Kosinski with what can only be interpreted as a gesture of goodwill, asking the reporter, “What the hell are you doing?!”
She rehashed the entire disturbing exchange on her Facebook page yesterday. Here’s the gist:
He followed up with full-on DEMANDS—over and over, and over again—to tell him who my sources were. He kept pushing, as if he thought this was ample reason. Then, “Why won’t you tell me who they are?”
I had to explain to him that wasn’t how it worked.
This, mind you, is someone employed by the US government to act as a communications professional. But he went for another approach: personal attacks. Saying I was losing the “shred of credibility I had left,” etc. Not sure what he was trying to accomplish here, but next came Hammond’s final attempt: threats. That he would make sure NO ONE– no one– at the department would speak to me, EVER AGAIN, he proclaimed.
Kosinski endured a few more minutes of this harassment before reminding him that he’s never shared information with CNN before. Hammond’s response: “We don’t think you’re smart enough to handle our information!”
Your tax dollars hard at work, ladies and gentlemen.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.