In a press conference Monday, reporter Cecilia Vega had a question for President Donald Trump. However, when he called on her, he first lobbed an insult: “You’re not thinking. You never think.”
When the White House distributed a transcript of the meeting to media contacts, the line was different, with an incongruous “thanking” substituted for “thinking.” While the tiny change could be a typo or other simple error, it’s one that significantly changes the context of the statement, and the White House isn’t talking about it.
ABC caught the clip below, which opens with Trump taking a question from Vega. He says, “She’s shocked that I picked her,” and when she responds, “I’m not thinking, Mr. President,” Trump can be heard to reply, “That’s okay, I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”
In pair of testy exchanges, Pres. Trump at first declines to answer @CeciliaVega's question on Kavanaugh inquiry, preferring to talk trade.
He later told her "the FBI should do what they have to do to get the answer," adding "my White House will do whatever the senators want." pic.twitter.com/NJYTtGMffP
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 1, 2018
However, when transcripts were distributed to the press, Daily Beast noted an oddity. In the transcript, the text was slightly altered, as can be seen with emphasis added below.
I know you’re not thanking. You never do.
While the transcription could be a simple editing error, this question has come up before, such as in July when Newsweek reported a similarly ambiguous transcription incident. Portions of Trump’s joint news conference with Vladimir Putin of Russia didn’t appear in the official White House video or transcript, including a segment in which Putin expressed that he supported Trump in the 2016 election and wanted him to win.
That case, too, could be a matter of a simple error rather than intent: It’s possible it’s a matter of timing with video feeds switching between reporter and translator.
However, the White House has, so far, remained silent on the incident, offering no comment on the transcript or the insult itself. In fact, MSNBC noted, the transcript still hasn’t appeared on the White House website.
Trump’s treatment of reporters at press conferences has been notorious, with refusals to take questions from certain reporters, and declarations that the group in front of him is ‘fake news.’
This insult to Cecilia Vega is another in a string of incidents, and its disappearance in the first official transcripts raise their own questions about what exactly is going on in the Donald Trump White House. More importantly, they seem to be more questions the GOP administration is refusing to answer.
Update (11:21 a.m.): The White House has fixed the transcript.