Spicer won’t reject idea that ‘deep state’ opposes Trump

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Friday conceded there may be a network of federal government employees resisting President Trump — the "deep state."

“Does the White House believe there’s such a thing as the deep state that’s actively working to undermine the president?” a reporter asked during Spicer’s daily press briefing.

“I think there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office that stays in government [they’re] affiliated with, joined [to] and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration,” Spicer answered, referencing former President Obama’s two terms in office.

While the term deep state typically refers to longtime government officials, especially in the military or intelligence agencies, Spicer tried to characterize it as Obama loyalists throughout the government.


“I don’t think it should come as any surprise that there are people burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it. I don’t think that should come as a surprise to anyone.”

Spicer denied that the director of national intelligence and the CIA has a presidential mandate to root out “deep state” officials, however.

“That’s not part of the CIA’s mandate under any circumstances, so no on that one,” he said when asked about that possibility.

Trump campaigned as a political outsider during the 2016 presidential election, repeatedly vowing he would “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., and end government corruption.

The president has since repeatedly decried leaks from inside his administration to the press, leading some conservative figures to suggest Obama administration holdovers are behind them. After leaks about Trump associates' connections to Russia caused national security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE to recuse himself from a Russia investigation, media figures on the right have increasingly blamed "the deep state."

Breitbart News has called the leaks "#DeepStateGate." Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday called for Trump to “purge” the executive branch of Obama-era bureaucrats and appointees, comparing the situation to former President Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War.

“He fired over 75 percent, nearly 1,200 people out of 1,500 bureaucrats that worked in the executive branch that President Abraham Lincoln feared could be disloyal,” he said on his broadcast of an example Trump should imitate.

“It’s time now for President Trump to follow Abraham Lincoln’s example and fire anyone and everyone who was actively working against him in government."