Remember “whataboutism?” That evil practice whereby the media said conservatives would bring in a liberal who had committed a minor-key infraction in the same vein as a conservative accused of something heinous?
Well, I am the bearer of good news: You can forget all about that, because now Ivanka Trump has sent a couple of hundred emails concerning government business from a private account and that means Hillary Clinton is scot free from that nasty server-in-the-bathroom stuff.
So, in case your internet connection just got back up this morning and you haven’t heard the news, Ivanka made a serious gaffe regarding her email.
“Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence,” The Washington Post first reported on Monday.
“White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.”
Not a great look. We totally admit that. However, the popular sentiment seemed to be summed up by FiveThirtyEight impresario Nate Silver, who managed to do it in NSFW fashion (ie, the original tweet has the obscenity in full):
The problem is that the two situations aren’t really analogous. Yes, both involve email and yes, both involve government emails sent from accounts they shouldn’t have been.
From there, the two cases diverge wildly.
Classified information? None.
Bathroom server in Trump Tower? Nope.
Foreign powers allegedly accessing the private email? Not that we know of.
Deleted emails? Again, not that we know of.
Is Ivanka Trump secretary of state? Of course not.
Trump’s spokesman, Peter Mirijanian, put it bluntly in a statement.
“Like most people, before entering into government service, Ms. Trump used a private email. When she entered the government, she was given a government email account for official use. While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” the statement read, according to CNBC.
“To address misinformation being peddled about Ms. Trump’s personal email, she did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted, the account was never transferred or housed at Trump Organization, no emails were ever deleted, and the emails have been retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules.
“When concerns were raised in the press 14 months ago, Ms. Trump reviewed and verified her email use with White House Counsel and explained the issue to congressional leaders.”
In other words, she made a mistake, she owned up to it and she stopped it. Bad decision, end of story. Nothing like the infamous server that led to the “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton.
In fact, Hillary could learn a life lesson from Ivanka’s handling of the email situation.
How much of the Ivanka email story is spin? It’s too early to say.
What watchdogs and The Washington Post have uncovered is a mistake — and make no doubt, Ivanka broke the rules — but not a private server seemingly tailor-made to evade records laws that put our national security at risk.
For a media that seems to crow a lot about invisible “whataboutism,” they’ve managed to engage in the most prominent example of it I’ve seen so far — even though they can’t prove Ivanka didn’t do everything right and it’s well known Hillary did almost everything wrong.
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