What is the deal with Donald Trump’s continued use of an old Android phone? And the private email that his top advisors are reportedly using?
Famously, President Obama fought—and won—the battle to retain a smartphone, albeit with major security restrictions on its use. So it seemed very straightforward when the New York Times first reported that DJT was trading in his old phone for a more secure model.
Citing “people close to the transition,” the paper reported that Trump had traded in his old Android phone “for a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service with a new number that few people possess.”
But then, the Times reversed that reporting when sources clarified that he plans to hang onto the old one after all—for tweeting, mostly. In the updated report, the paper said that Trump actually has been carrying his “old, unsecured Android phone” around the White House.
So which is it?
Fox News dutifully reported the Times reversal (with a refreshingly straightforward headline: “Is President Trump still using his old Android phone?”), adding that the White House has not responded to its request for confirmation either way.
We’ve covered the cyber-dangers involved in having such a social president, but using an old Android phone vastly exacerbates the issue. If this is true, it would appear that the President of the United States doesn’t realize that he can’t just carry on like a reckless member of the private sector anymore.
There’s also the issue of a private email server. Remember how Hilary Clinton couldn’t get past the uproar around her use of private email while Secretary of State? Remember how Trump and his surrogates led the charge on that, promising to “lock her up” for its use (even though the FBI declined to press any charges whatsoever).
Well guess who is now reported as using a private email server? That’s right, those closest to the president.
The four most high-profile senior officials in President Trump’s White House have active accounts on a private Republican National Committee (RNC) email system, according to Newsweek: Counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist and senior counselor Stephen Bannon and senior adviser Jared Kushner—Trump's son-in-law. All of them have rnchq.org email accounts, the report said.
It’s not illegal. But it’s hard not to note the utter hypocrisy involved in this turn of events. Then there’s the small fact that the RNC is hackable—it was hacked during the election cycle. So, this poses a national security issue.
Like the Android phone issue, it would again appear that the administration hasn’t quite grasped that being the leader of a world superpower kind of makes a person—and those around him—a major target.