The Slatest

Report: White House Spokesman Called Trump a “Deplorable”

Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah walking with reporters.
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah heads back into the White House after briefly talking to reporters on Jan. 22 in Washington.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Before joining the Trump administration, a White House spokesman called Trump a “deplorable” in private messages, according to a report by New York magazine.

Now the White House principal deputy press secretary, Raj Shah had been working at the Republican National Committee during the 2016 election when the Access Hollywood tapes were published. According to New York magazine, a few hours after the Washington Post published the video, Shah emailed Andrew Hemming, a senior RNC researcher, from his personal email account:

At 10:57 p.m., he wrote, “u wanna hear something a little fucked up?” Hemming responded, “Sure.”

“I’m kinda enjoying this, some justice. I honestly don’t think it’s the worst thing he’s done but he somehow got passes for the other acts.”

Shah added, “Trump is a deplorable.”

Shah had previously also asked Hemming for opposition research on Trump when they were both at the RNC, an organization that is supposed to remain neutral during the primaries. In an email dated Dec. 15, 2015, six months after Trump announced his bid, Shah asked if “we’ve got” the video correlating to a 2008 CNN transcript in which Trump praised Obama and Clinton. Hemming—who would also later work in the Trump White House before leaving in August—sent Shah the video later that day. Three days later, the Jeb Bush campaign released an ad featuring the video.

It’s no secret that some members of Trump’s administration have barely concealed frustrations about the president and his rash and often ill-advised actions. In November, BuzzFeed reported that Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, called the president an “idiot” and a “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.” In January, Michael Wolff reported in his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (so take this with a grain of salt) that Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus thought the president was an “idiot” and that Gary Cohn thought the man was “dumb as shit.”

This new report serves as a good reminder of that constant, simmering tension, but it’s hard to beat out that time Rex Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “fucking moron.”