According to a report from the Associated Press, President Trump has reportedly asked world leaders to contact him on his personal cell phone, a revelation that has caused some to raise questions about the White House’s security practices.
If true, it marks a massive break with how international diplomacy is conducted and leaves Trump’s communications vulnerable to interception. The AP reports that Trump has “urged leaders of Canada and Mexico to reach him on his cellphone,” with only Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taking him up on the offer.
Trump also allegedly exchanged numbers with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, although he hasn’t indicated if he’ll take advantage.
From the AP:
The notion of world leaders calling each other up via cellphone may seem unremarkable in the modern, mobile world. But in the diplomatic arena, where leader-to-leader calls are highly orchestrated affairs, it is another notable breach of protocol for a president who has expressed distrust of official channels. The formalities and discipline of diplomacy have been a rough fit for Trump — who, before taking office, was long easily accessible by cellphone and viewed himself as freewheeling, impulsive dealmaker.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 31, 2017
Trump’s looseness with his phone number is notable considering that one of the most defining talking points of his campaign centered around Hillary Clinton’s alleged usage of an unsecured email server and the supposed risk to national security it entailed.
“If you are Macron or the leader of any country and you get the cellphone number of the president of the United States, it’s reasonable to assume that they’d hand it right over to their intel service,” University of Virginia law professor Ashley Deeks told the AP.
“Government sometimes looks like a big bureaucracy that has stupid rules, but a lot of these things are in place for very good reasons and they’ve been around for a while and determine the most effective way to do business in the foreign policy sphere … Sometimes it takes presidents longer to figure that out.”
Featured image via Gage Skidmore