More than 12 hours after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn suddenly resigned after news broke that he’d lied to other administration officials about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, President Donald Trump has stayed uncharacteristically quiet.
His only comment on the resignation thus far was a tweet demanding to know why all of this happened — not Flynn’s downfall, but the leaks that led to it:
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
It’s worth noting what Trump hasn’t done so far. He hasn’t promised a full investigation into Flynn and his ties to Russia, or into Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador. He hasn’t said that behavior like Flynn’s won’t be tolerated. He didn’t issue a more anodyne statement — something that, for example, echoed Flynn’s reasons for resigning and promised a swift and thorough search for the next person who will hold the job.
Sending a combative tweet rather than making a statement (or answering questions from the media) in a time of upheaval isn’t typical presidential behavior. And it might explain, in part, why there are so many leaks. The Trump administration, still without a communications director, isn’t even trying to present a coherent message or a unified front. The dozens of leaks are filling that void.