Rep. Adam Schiff — along with “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” and “Crazy Maxine Waters” — has long been a target of mockery on Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. But in a post Sunday, the president may have coined his crudest nickname yet for a political rival.
“So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate,” the president wrote online, “but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!”
Schiff fired back 35 minutes later, quoting the president’s post and writing on Twitter: “Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the president’s misspelling of Schiff’s name was intentional. The office of first lady Melania Trump, who has championed anti-cyberbullying efforts through her “Be Best” initiative, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Schiff, who is poised to take the helm of the powerful House Intelligence Committee after Democrats recaptured the chamber from Republicans in the midterm elections, appeared Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.” The California congressman spoke about Trump’s decision to appoint former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker to lead the Justice Department after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted earlier this month.
Whitaker, who most recently worked as Sessions’ chief of staff, has previously criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Kremlin by the Trump campaign. In his new role as acting attorney general, Whitaker is charged with overseeing that probe.
“The biggest flaw from my point of view is that he was chosen for the purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation,” Schiff told journalist Martha Raddatz of Whitaker’s appointment, which he called “unconstitutional.”
“He auditioned for the part by going on TV and saying he could hobble the investigation,” Schiff said, adding: “We will expose any involvement he has in it. He needs to know that if he takes any action to curb what Mr. Mueller does, we’re going to find out about it.”
Trump has been known to delete some tweets with typos or obvious factual errors, firing off amended posts within minutes. But since referencing Schiff just after 1 p.m., the president has not corrected the spelling of the congressman’s name, and has gone on to tweet about South American migrants and rebroadcasts of his Sunday interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.
The president’s apparent dig at one of the top Democratic lawmakers in Congress comes as the White House has complained about a lack of civility among members of the media — specifically CNN’s Jim Acosta, whose security pass was yanked by Secret Service personnel following a dispute involving a news conference earlier this month.
When a federal judge on Friday ordered the White House to reinstate Acosta’s pass, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement: “There must be decorum at the White House.”
In an interview later Friday on Fox News, Sanders said that “if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”
Trump, in his interview with Fox News’ Wallace on Sunday, said the White House was in the process of drafting new protocols for conduct by reporters at news conferences.
“We’re writing them now,” the president said. “We’ll have rules of decorum.”