After months of explosive price jumps, Bitcoin finally had a moment at the White House press briefing on Thursday. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders may, or may not, have said something important about it. As is often the case with Sanders, it was a little hard to tell.
Sanders kept the press briefing short and sweet today. Clocking in at just 20 minutes, including a five-minute announcement from the acting director of HHS, the White House managed to avoid answering questions about the various demonstrations of unhinged behavior that have come from the president in recent days. (We’re going to go with days, sure.) Being asked about Bitcoin was a perfect opportunity to avoid talking about Trump’s tweets, but she didn’t really take it.
Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman began his question to Sanders by noting that Trump likes to talk about the stock market but we haven’t heard anything from the administration about the cryptocurrency boom. He asked if the president has an opinion about it or if he’s been following it. Sanders replied that she knows “this is something that is being monitored by our team here” but “in terms of specific briefings and announcements on it, I don’t have anything to share with you.”
When Burman followed up and asked, “What kind of monitoring?” Sanders replied, “Look, this is an issue, I know that Tom Bossert, with the Homeland Security team, an advisor to the president, has brought this up in a meeting earlier this week. I know this is something he is keeping an eye on. We’ll keep you posted when we have anything further on it.”
Okay. While most people would expect the White House to have, oh I don’t know, the head of the SEC or the secretary of treasury monitoring the situation, the White House is going with Homeland Security. As far as I can tell, the only time Tom Bossert has publically talked about Bitcoin has been in relation to ransomware. Maybe that’s why he’s “monitoring” the situation.
Of course, in recent days, stories that Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a warning about DJI drones spying for Chinese, and that PR flack Kellyanne Conway will be put in charge of the biggest health epidemic in the US have come out. So, maybe a Homeland Security advisor is overseeing commodities now. Nothing matters. More likely, Sanders is just throwing out something to say, and national security is always an easy bet.