But the practice has created several headaches for the new president, leading Trump, just weeks into his presidency, to publicly vow to try to punish “low-life leakers” in his own administration.
“Let their name be put out there,’ Trump said before the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, accusing reporters of making up anonymous sources and stories. He declared reporters shouldn’t be allowed to use sources “unless they use somebody’s name.”
“‘A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.’ Let ’em say it to my face.”
But Trump’s administration has not been practicing what the boss preached. Despite the president’s anger about unnamed sources, White House budget officials insisted on anonymity Monday as they outlined details of Trump’s spending plans to reporters on a conference call. The budget officials ignored requests to put the briefing on the record.
Several anonymously sourced stories have driven Trump coverage: revelations that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had lied about conversations with Russians about sanctions; details of private phone calls Trump had with leaders of Australia and Mexico; draft memos of policy plans for actions like rounding up undocumented aliens.