The White House released the most painfully obvious statement about President Donald Trump visiting the Pentagon on Friday.
According to White House spokesman Hogan Gidley, per the pool report, "Today at the Pentagon, the President received a briefing conducted by military officials and members of his national security team."
That's it. That's all we got.
What was he briefed on? Could you throw in a topic or two? And you're telling me military officials and his national security team were present at the Pentagon? No way.
This normally wouldn't be worth complaining about if there were press availability at this thing, where reporters could ask some questions and report on things that Americans may find of interest in the entire affair, but alas, it was closed to press. So as one Task & Purpose reporter noted in our internal chat, the "brain-numbingly obvious" statement made it clear that, "today, where defense things happen, discussions about defense did in fact take place."
Task & Purpose asked whether there was more to come from Gidley, and will update if there is any response. We're hoping to hear a little bit more detail, such as news that the president shook a colonel's hand, or that perhaps he at one point drank from the water fountain.
We can now add this non-statement statement from the White House to the transparency greatest hits album for taxpayer-funded press operations. Also in the archive is a transcript from a "Press Gaggle by Acting Secretary Shanahan" from earlier this week which featured Shanahan saying he had to get back, asking a reporter how they were doing, and then saying pretty much nothing after that.
This of course follows the last official Pentagon press briefing from the podium, which was given by actor Gerard Butler. I wish I were making that up. And for those keeping score, the last time the top Pentagon spokesperson — you know, the person whose job it is to explain to the American people what the Defense Department is doing on a daily basis — has given a briefing on camera was almost a year ago.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan along with other top miltiary and civilan leadership at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence)
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.