Earlier this week, two sources told CNN that the White House plans to stop releasing information about Donald Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders. The report follows Trump’s behind-closed-doors meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit. The White House has been becoming more private and the timeline for the new phone call policy is indefinite.
The White House declined to comment.
Readouts allow political administrations and the press to follow what diplomatic issues are discussed between the U.S. and other countries. The readouts will continue to be issued to the entire Trump administration but will be kept quiet from the rest of Washington.
The last readout was published back in mid-June and came after Hungary re-elected their prime minister. Trump congratulated him.
“The two leaders further pledge to keep the United State-Hungary relations strong,” the readout stated.
A call with a foreign leader is a very coordinated and meticulous process. The conversation is planned out by the President’s national security team and normally takes place in the Situation Room. After the call is over, the U.S. and the other country each release their own readouts.
Here is an example of a phone call between Trump and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
The United States’ readout:
“President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke today. The two leaders discussed the dairy trade in Wisconsin, New York State, and various other places. It was a very amicable call,”
“The prime minister and the President reaffirmed the importance of the mutually beneficial Canada-US trade relationship. On the issue of softwood lumber, the prime minister refuted the baseless allegations by the US Department of Commerce and the decision to impose unfair duties.”
“One is transparency. There is a public interest in knowing who he talked to and what they talk about. Secondly, these readouts help shape the narrative. If we aren’t doing a readout, but the other country is, their narrative is going to prevail,” said Tony Blinken, who severed as secretary of state from 2015-2017.
The White House is becoming increasingly private.