When you elect a former reality show host with no previous governing experience to the highest public office in the country, it’s very likely that person will repeatedly misinterpret public policies. So if you woke up Saturday wondering when and how one Donald J. Trump would manage to fail up while tweeting from a golf course, the answer came in the form of a tweet about the 35th President, John F. Kennedy.
Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2017
“Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.
Technically, Trump was correct here, although he won’t need to release the JFK files so much as just not overtly block them from being publicly disclosed—as they would have anyway next Thursday. The JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992—enacted on October 26, 1992—states the following:
“Each assassination record shall be publicly disclosed in full, and available in the Collection no later than the date that is 25 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, unless the President certifies, as required by this Act, that
(i) continued postponement is made necessary by an identifiable harm to military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations; and
(ii) the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”
The 1963 assassination of President Kennedy has remained a source of fascination for history buffs and conspiracy theorists alike for over half a century. Furthermore, most of the CIA and FBI documents about JFK have already been released either in their full form or partially redacted. Essentially, all Trump had to do here was get out of his own way and focus on more pressing matters such as aiding hurricane-battered Puerto Rico or not sub-tweeting an equally moronic dictator with access to nuclear launch codes.
But Trump is going to Trump, so what seems like an inevitable bit of governmental minutiae can still prove entertaining. The Washington Post reports that according to an unnamed National Security Council official, “government agencies were urging the president not to release some of the documents.” If that’s true, then Trump has actually attended at least one White House briefing and doesn’t get all of his updates from Fox News. The same report noted that Trump’s confidant Roger Stone bragged about lobbying the president to release the files during an appearance on Alex Jones’ Infowars.
This would be the time where we collectively hang our head in shame that a sitting president hangs out with white nationalists and has friends who brag about being guests on Infowars.