White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz stumbled on Wednesday when he tried to explain the difference between the proposed Jordanian prisoner swap with ISIL and our government’s swap of Gitmo prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl:
The Taliban is an armed insurgency, ISIL is a terrorist group. We don’t make concessions to terrorist groups.
That comment led ABC’s Jonathan Karl to ask Schultz, “You don’t think the Taliban is a terrorist group?”
Schultz then doubled down on his earlier comment:
I don’t think that the Taliban… the Taliban is an armed insurgency,” This was a winding down of the war in Afghanistan and that’s why this arrangement was dealt.
If Schultz had called the Taliban a terrorist organization, that would have meant that the administration lied when it said it doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, and we know they would never lie to the American people on a matter as serious as this, now would they?
UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest only added to the tortured logic today when he told reporters that the Taliban carries out tactics that are “akin to terrorism” and pursue terror tactics to advance their agenda, but that they are different from groups like Al Qaeda because they “have principally been focused on Afghanistan,” while “Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that has aspirations that extend beyond just the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Earnest also admitted that while the Taliban aren’t on the State Department list of foreign terrorist organizations, they are on a Treasury Department list of “specially designated global terrorists” that dates back to a 2002 executive order.
If Earnest was trying to prove that the administration wasn’t lying about their stance on negotiating with terrorists, his attempt to do so failed miserably.