103 Times The President Was ‘Very Clear,’ According To Sean Spicer

Kaitlan Collins | White House Correspondent

Sean Spicer threw reporters for a loop at the briefing Monday when he said Donald Trump “very clearly” meant that Barack Obama’s administration — not Obama himself — directed the surveillance of Trump Tower, an allegation that Trump made against his predecessor on Twitter in early March.

Sean Spicer

(Photo: Getty Images)

Because the president used wiretapping in quotes in his tweet, the press secretary said Trump could have been referring to “a whole host of surveillance types.” Wiretapping narrowly means using a telephone or telegram wire in order to get information.

“I think if you look at the president’s tweet, he said very clearly ‘wiretapping’ in quotes,” Spicer said. “There’s been substantial discussion in several reports that Bret Baier from Fox on March 3rd talked about evidence of wiretapping. There’s been reports in The New York Times and the BBC and other outlets about other aspects of surveillance that have occurred.”

“The president was very clear in his tweet that it was wiretapping, that that spans a whole host of surveillance types of options.”

Very clear. 

It’s a phrase Spicer turns to a lot when he’s taking questions from reporters. In the last three briefings, he’s used it 21 times alone. Since the Trump administration entered the White House, he’s uttered it 103 times.

Below is every time the president has been “very clear,” according to his press secretary.

(Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

On cooperating with Russia to defeat ISIS: “I think the president has been very clear in the past that if a country shares our commitment to defeating ISIS and we can work with them in an area of shared, mutual concern, then we will do so.”

On the Obama administration manipulating job numbers: “He’s made very clear in the past what his comments were on how those numbers were articulated in the past.”

On the president’s responsibility to prove Obama surveilled him: “Right, and we’ve made it very clear that we expect the House and the Senate Intelligence Committees to do their job.”

On whether Congressional Budget Office scoring is legitimate: “All I’m suggesting to you is very clearly that the numbers that they gave the last time they did health care were off by more than 50 percent when it came to the number of people insured. That’s not my interpretation, that’s a fact. And I think it’s important for people to understand the differences.”

On Trump’s claim that the media is rude: “I think that he has been very clear that he doesn’t believe some of the behavior and the reporting has been appropriate.”

On the Gang of Eight immigration bill: “I think the president’s been very clear during the campaign trail that that’s not a bill that he supports.”

On Trump’s belief that the Obama administration fudged job numbers: “I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly — ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.'”

On criticism for the GOP healthcare bill: “The president has also been very clear through all of the discussions — and I’ve commented on that throughout the week — that as he meets with members of Congress and outside groups, that if someone has got an idea that can make this legislation more accessible, give more choice to the American people, drive down costs, make it more patient-centric, he wants to listen to it.”

“I’ve made it very clear since the get-go that this process is going to be one where we’re going to take the best ideas, we’re going to listen to individuals and try to make sure that we achieve the goals that the president has laid out and the principles that he has laid out.”

On wiretapping claims: “I think we spoke very clearly about what we’d like to happen last Sunday and I’m going to reiterate it: We believe that the House and Senate intelligence committee have the appropriate forum and process and staff to look into this matter and report back.”

On sending weapons to Ukraine: “The president, when it comes to his overall negotiating strategy, has made it very clear in a variety of circumstances that his philosophy is not one that says, “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do.”

On Americans receiving the same healthcare as federal employees: “I think the president understands that very clearly, and that’s, frankly, why he’s pushing the American healthcare — you know, why we’re doing this, is that so many Americans have no choice, and that he wants there to be greater choice and lower costs.”

On weakening support for the border wall: “The president was very clear that was something that he campaigned on and promised the American people as an effort to both protect our national security and our economic security, and he’s going to fulfill that pledge.”

On being pro-life: “With respect to Planned Parenthood specifically, the president has been very clear that he’s pro-life.”

On signing a repeal effort modeled after 2015: “That’s why we’ve been very clear — and I think Paul Ryan laid out, Dr. Price has laid it out, and Mick Mulvaney is laying it out when he goes up to the Hill — that there’s a reason that we keep talking about it in three prongs. Because there are only so many things that you are legally allowed to do through the reconciliation process.”

On getting rid of DACA: “I think the president has been very clear about how he plans to address immigration as a whole, both legal and illegal.”

On Trump Hotel: “Obviously the president has made very clear in that December press conference at Trump Tower he doesn’t have conflicts and he’s done everything in accordance with the guidance that was given and gone well beyond what he ever needed to do.”

On if the budget is realistic: “I’m not going to negotiate the budget from here, but I think that the president has been — made very clear that the vital role that they play in our society.”

On whether the border wall is needed if apprehensions are down: “I think so, sure. The president was very clear. It’s not just needed, the president committed to doing it to the American people.”

On attacks and threats against minorities nationwide: “That’s what the president spoke so eloquently about during his joint address, and made it very clear that while certain policies may divide us as individuals, there are certain principles that can unite us.”

On U.S.-India relations: “As you know very well, he spoke very clearly and frequently about the relationship that we have and hope to continue to grow with India.”

On leaks: “Well, I mean, again, I don’t want to — the allegations — he has been very clear about the concern that he has for leaks.”

On CBO scoring: “The president made it very clear in his press conference and a lot of previous statements, the politically easy thing to do is just let it collapse and let Democrats come back to the table.”

On Trump’s incorrect tweet about Guantánamo Bay detainees: “This president is very clear that he understands the nature of the threat that the people in Gitmo pose to our nation, and the recidivism rate that there are among people that we have released.”

“This administration understands and the president has been very clear that he understands the people that are kept in Gitmo pose a danger to our country and to the rest of the world.”

On Trump’s relationship with Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu: “There was discussion of settlements, and the president was very clear about what his desires and his wishes were.”

On Iranian vessels coming within 150 yards of a Navy ship: “The president has been very clear that this provocative action is something that won’t be tolerated.”

On Congress handling the investigation into Trump wiretapping claims: “They’ve made it very clear that they have the staff, the resources and the process. I think that’s the appropriate place for this to handle.”

“My job is to represent the president and to talk about what he’s doing and what he wants. And he has made very clear what his goal is, what he would like to have happen.”

“I think we’ve made it very clear how he wants this done and where we go from there.”

On White House staying on message: “That being said, I think, look, whether it was Candidate Trump, President-elect Trump, or now President Trump, the president has always made it very clear — or not he made it clear, but I think the voters made it clear that one of the things that they appreciate about him is his ability to be authentic and to speak very forcefully and very directly with the American people.”

On if Spicer has seen evidence of wiretapping: “I’m not going to get in — as the president made very clear, Glenn, as the president said in the statement that he issued on Sunday, we’re not going to have further comment on this until this matter is resolved.”

On surveillance: “I’m going to put a pin in this and say, the statement yesterday made it very clear that he wants House and Senate Intelligence Committee members to use their oversight authority to look into this situation.”

“Just review internally and tell the president, this is what’s — but we made very clear to anyone who asked — and if you know Don and the team here — these are unbelievably talented lawyers.”

“I’ve said it over and over again, I think the president made it very clear in the statement yesterday that he is not going to comment any further on this until Congress does…”

“I’m just going to say that the president made it very clear that, based on numerous things.”

On Mike Flynn: “If you note the president’s comments at the time, he was very clear that the issue wasn’t that he’s doing his job. The issue was him misleading the vice president. And that’s a very different thing.”

On Jeff Sessions: “I think in his mind, it was very clear that, I never met with anybody with respect to the campaign. I met with someone in my Senate office, in my capacity as a United States senator, with Senate staff to discuss foreign policy or whatever it was that he was discussing.”

“I do think the way he described it was very clear that he believed he was answering Senator Franken’s question with respect to activity involving the campaign and attempts to — as I said to Sara, like this whole idea of influencing the election.”

On Trump and Obama’s relationship: “I think that, as you saw, and the president has made it very clear, he said some things about the president. And the president said stuff — about the campaign. I think they came together for the good of the country.”

“I think the president has been very clear, as we’ve stated, that I think there’s enough there that we want the House and Senate intelligence to use the resources they do to make sure that they look into this matter.”

On when the new executive order on immigration would be announced: “Again, I’ve made this very clear to you guys. I’ll say again what I’ve said before. I’m not — and when the president has made a decision about something that he’s ready for us to announce, we’ll announce it, but we’re not there yet.”

On the president’s vision for foreign policy in those active war zones: “I think when it comes to the military itself, he was very clear about his commitment to the military, his desire to fund the military, give them the infrastructure that it needs.”

“I think he was very clear in terms of what he expects from the country.”

On the executive order: “I think that he has been very clear from the get-go. He talked about some of the tactics used a while ago, and he said, I’m going to rely on General Mattis and his expertise.”

On budget reform: “I think the president has made very clear that it’s not his intent to do — he wants to focus on the discretionary side; that entitlement reform is not — that, with respect to those programs that he mentioned, he stands by his word.”

On adding defense spending to the budget: “One, I think he’ll touch on this in the joint address.  But, secondly, the budget that’s come out will be very clear about where a lot of that funding will come from.”

On deportations being a military operation: “The president was using that as an adjective.  It’s happening with precision, and in a manner in which it’s being done very, very clearly.”

On the first travel order being constitutional: “We have made it very clear that we believe that the first one was done in compliance with U.S. code and the authority granted to the president.”

“It’s very clear that the president is told by Congress in U.S. code that he has the authority to do what’s necessary to protect the American people.”

On sanctuary cities: “I think the president has been very clear on this — that if you are a sanctuary city, declared or undeclared, if you are providing benefits or services, we are going to do everything we can to respect taxpayers and ensure that your states follow the law.”

On executive order for Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “I do know that there is a commitment by the president and the staff that he has been very clear with us that he wants that done by the end of this month for obvious reasons.”

On transgender bathrooms: “I think that, as April pointed out, when the issue came to one of his own properties he was very clear. But again, what he doesn’t want to do is force his issues or beliefs down — he believes it’s a states’ rights issue.”

“If a state chooses to do it, as I mentioned to April, when this circumstance came up at one of the president’s own properties, he was very clear about his position on this.”

On Trump and the nuclear arsenal: “Let’s just be clear. He didn’t — what he was very clear on is that the United States will not yield its supremacy in this area to anybody.”

“That’s what he made very clear in there.”

On manufacturing taxes: “I think the president has been very clear from the beginning that there is no tax if companies manufacture in the United States.”

On the executive order restricting immigration: “The president was very clear in his executive order that these were countries that we didn’t have the proper vetting for when it came to ensuring the safety of Americans.”

“So that’s where we are. That’s what the order says. And then so I think we continue to feel confident that that’s — but it was crafted in a way that was very clear about the countries, and was not focused on anything else but the vetting requirements that we have to make sure that we know who’s coming into this country and that they’re here not to do us any harm.”

“I think he’s made it very clear from the beginning that this was a country-focused issue, a safety-focused issue, and that’s why he issued it.  I don’t see anything other than that with reference to that.”

“I think we’ve been very clear about understanding what the court said in trying to tailor that specifically while achieving the same goals of keeping America safe and ensuring that people don’t come into this country that seek to do us harm.

On angry crowds at GOP town halls: “I think that that’s a false narrative.  And I don’t — the president has been very clear.  Look, you have to look at what our healthcare system is right now.  In so many counties around our nation, we’ve gone down to one provider.  That’s not choice.  That’s not access.”

On DACA: “The president is very clear about his priorities with respect to immigration.”

On staffing the government: “We were very clear with the landing teams during the transition.”

On the first immigration order: “The second track that he’s made very clear as well is that until that occurs, we’re going to have a dual-track system.”

On sending terror suspects to Guantanamo Bay: “As the president has said very clearly before, we don’t telegraph what we’re going to do.”

“I think he has made very clear, though, that he believes that Guantanamo Bay does serve a very, very healthy purpose in our national security in making sure that we don’t bring terrorists to our seas.”

On anti-Semitic threats: “Look, the president has made clear since the day he was elected and, frankly, going back through the campaign, that he is someone who seeks to unite this country. And it is something that he is going to continue to fight and make very, very clear that he has no place in this administration.”

On calling the media the enemy of the American people: “I think the president has been very clear that certain outlets have gone out of their way to not represent his record accurately, and it is a concern to him.”

On Dodd-Frank: “I think the president is going to be very clear with making sure that we do things that build up the goal of what Dodd-Frank actually intended to do.  But right now, we actually, through Dodd-Frank, put taxpayers more on the hook than we let them off.”

On dealing with leaks in the administration: “The president has been very clear, whether he’s negotiating or dealing with an issue like this, you don’t telegraph to people how you’re going to handle it.”

On Mike Flynn: “He continued to maintain that that had not occurred, and I think that’s where the president continued to — and that’s why the president was very clear that it was an eroding issue.”

“I think the statement is very clear that it was this and a series of issues.”

“President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.”

On Trump’s critical comments on judges: “I think the president has made very clear that he was concerned about how that executive order in particular, which is what we’re talking about, was applied.”

On the first executive order on immigration:  “I think the president was very clear that U.S. code and the Constitution clearly give the president all the authority that is needed to make sure that he can regulate who comes into this country and prevent any acts of — you know, anyone who is not coming to this country in a peaceful manner.”

“I think it’s a very, very clear reading, and the president was very — I think he further went on and said, it doesn’t matter what level of education you’re at, I don’t think you could misread this.”

“I think he was very clear, Jeff. So thank you.”

On Trump tweeting about Nordstrom dropping Ivanka Trump’s fashion line: “I think he’s been very clear how proud he is of what they do and what they’ve accomplished, and for someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of his is just — is not acceptable, and the president has every right as a father to stand up for them.”

On ISIS: “He has been — made very clear during the campaign that the first step is understanding, knowing, and proclaiming who the enemy is.  And he’s going to do whatever it takes.”

On NATO: “The president has made it very clear that, for too long, many countries have been getting a free ride.”

“They understand the importance of NATO, and the president is very clear that in order for NATO to be successful, these folks have to pay their fair share.”

On Trump’s Cabinet nominees being delayed: “Look, the president has been very clear it’s not Republicans that have stood in the way of this nomination of all of these qualified individuals.”

On healthcare: “I think we’ve been very clear over and over again that the president is going to repeal and replace it, and that what Americans will get at the end of this is a health care solution that, as I’ve said before over and over again, is going to give them a lower-cost health solution with more options.”

“I think he’s been very clear that he owes the American people a result that’s going to lower costs and provide more access.”

On Trump taking his executive order to the Supreme Court: “Let’s see where we go.  I think he made it very clear that…”

On eliminating DACA and DAPA: “We’ve been very clear on immigration — what the president’s priorities would be.”

“He’s been very clear in the past that those who are in this country that pose a threat to us or with a criminal record are where his priorities are going to be first and foremost, and we’re going to move through the rest of folks that are in this country illegally.”

On Trump saying the media underreports terror attacks: “Look, I think the president’s comments were very clear at the time.  He felt as though members of the media don’t always cover some of those events to the extent that other events might get covered; that a protest will get blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage.”

“I think his statement was very clear on that.”

On Trump’s claim that millions voted illegally:  “I think he’s very clear that he is going to — he has named Vice President Pence to lead a task force that will look into this…”

On Israeli settlements: “I mean, I think the statement is very clear about that.  We don’t believe that the existence of current settlements is an impediment to peace, but I think the construction or expansion of existing settlements beyond the current borders is not going to be helpful moving forward.”

On Iranian nuclear deal:  “I think today’s action speaks for itself in terms of the sanctions.  He’s made it very, very clear that the deal that was struck was a bad deal, that we gave Iran too much and we got too little for it. ”

“I’ve said this before, the president has been very clear:  He doesn’t take options off the table but he understands the impact of something like that.  The sanctions today I think are going to be very, very strong and impactful.”

On DACA and DAPA: “We’ve made it very clear that we’ll have further updates on immigration referring to DACA and DAPA.”

On radical Islamic terrorism: “I will be very clear that this president’s commitment to rooting out radical Islamic terrorism is something that is at the forefront of his agenda.”

On Neil Gorsuch:  “I think the president made very clear that the decision is something that we would rather not have to go down, but also that it is ultimately up to Senator McConnell and how he wants to operate this.”

“President Trump was very clear about the type of people that he was going to put forth first in a list of 10 and then in a list of 11 additional ones.  So I think the American people knew clearly where he was going to go.  He followed through on that campaign promise. ”

On sharing Steve Bannon’s opinions of Islam: “I think the president has been very clear that his number one goal is not to target any one religion but places and areas where we believe that there is an issue.”

On federal government owning land: “I think the president has been very clear that as part of an overall comprehensive energy solution, that we’ve got to utilize the resources that we have, that the federal government owns, whether that’s the forests or natural resources or minerals that exist above and below the ground, that we have too infrequently looked at our own resources and counted too much on foreign sources of energy.”

On Trump using executive orders: “I think he has talked about — especially in the area of immigration — he’s been very, very clear that this a huge priority for him.”

On coal: “The president has very clearly stated that clean coal in particular is an issue that’s so important to our energy independence as well as our job creation in this country.”

On criticism of Obama administration’s foreign policy: “He’s going to continue to make sure that the American people know that some of these deals and things that were left by the previous administration, that he wants to make very clear what his position is and his opposition to them.”

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