Considering what happened this past week with the sentencing of former Trump advisor Roger Stone, it has been a trying week for President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Amongst it all, though, Trump took some time to publicly reflect on Barr’s performance.
And, according to the president, Attorney General Barr is a “very good man doing a very good job.”
Making life easier
In a Thursday interview on Geraldo Rivera’s podcast, “Roadkill,” Trump contrasted Barr with his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, with whom we all know Trump had major conflicts.
“My life would’ve been a lot easier, but I might have been less popular,” Trump said when asked what his presidency would have been like if he had just chosen Barr from the start.
Trump went on to explain that overcoming his conflict with Sessions, and, for that matter, all the other conflicts he has faced as president really energize his base and make him more popular.
“Because they say [my supporters] like that that I fought it,” Trump said. “They like that I won. They like that my base is much more energized.”
Trump continued: “Let’s assume none of this stuff happened, that we had a nice, boring presidency, right? I don’t think I’d have nearly the energy in the Republican Party that we have right now.”
It seems to be a coincidence that this interview took place just prior to Barr’s Thursday appearance on ABC News where he offered up some criticism of the president’s use of social media.
One of the big news items this week was the sentencing of Roger Stone. The general course of events went like this: the prosecutors recommended a particularly harsh prison sentence of up to nine years in jail for Stone; Trump criticized the recommendation on social media as excessive; Barr and the DOJ, also finding this recommendation to be excessive, suggested a lighter sentence; the prosecutors resigned in a huff, and Trump praised Barr and the DOJ’s decision.
This general sequence made it look at though Trump is influencing Barr and the DOJ, which has led to claims from the media of a partisan DOJ and even calls for Barr’s resignation or impeachment. Hence, during the ABC interview, which, again, took place after Trump’s, Barr remarked that Trump’s use of social media, at times, makes it “impossible for me to do my job.”
White House response
Now, the question is whether Barr’s criticism of Trump’s social media habits has changed Trump’s opinion of Barr. Here is the White House’s response to the Barr interview:
The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all and he has the right, just like any American citizen, to publicly offer his opinions. President Trump uses social media very effectively to fight for the American people against injustices in our country, including the fake news. The President has full faith and confidence in Attorney General Barr to do his job and uphold the law.”
So, it seems that Barr and Trump are on the same page, which is good because they make one heck of a team.