This keeps coming back, in satirical content, in retrospectives of the Trump presidency, and I'm just not sure what the context is.


This interview was recorded shortly after a deadly terrorist attack on a mosque in Quebec. It's a big story, and a type of story governments often have strong opinions about.

I know it's been debunked, there's plenty of images of Donald John Trump in bath robes circulating.

The question is, why is the presence or absence of a bath robe "the epitome of fake news"? Does anything about Donald's nightwear have even the slightest bit of bearing on a terrorist attack? Trump was not involved.

  • That's kinda the point of fake news; news happens and fake news reports something else. Also retrospective is not a great word to use about something less than 1/10th done.
    – user9389
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:37
  • 1
    @notstoreboughtdirt I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand that comment. The question is about why was the press secretary refuting a true, verifiable fact instead of talking about a terrorist attack that had just happened. If he believes that's not true, and we agree it's irrelevant, did was he talking about it?
    – AJFaraday
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:40
  • 5
    Man, if we're going to try and figure out why the crap that comes out of the mouths of people in this administration, up to the very top, comes out of their mouths, we're going to be buried in the deep weed weeds for a long time. Mar 23, 2017 at 16:45
  • The press secretary is making fake news.
    – user9389
    Mar 23, 2017 at 16:48
  • It's called "spin".
    – user1530
    Mar 23, 2017 at 17:06

1 Answer 1


From CNN which was quoting the original New York Times story:

The New York Times had reported: "When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home."

The New York Times has a paywall that kicks in after a certain number of articles or potentially immediately with use of an ad blocker or similar Javascript blocker. So I haven't read the original.

Later in the CNN article:

"I don't think the President wears a bathrobe, and definitely doesn't own one," he said.

Which CNN characterized

press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday the reporters got their facts wrong -- including the eye-catching detail that Trump watches TV in his bathrobe.

The idea is that details like "watching television in his bathrobe" make it sound like the writer knows these details. If the writer falsified those details, what other details are they falsifying? This is of particular concern in that many of the stories involve allegations made by anonymous sources. As per Spicer, apparently the Times made up this detail. How to know that they did not similarly make up other details? E.g. the anonymous source.

Donald Trump presumably knows whether or not he currently owns a bathrobe and whether he watches television while wearing it. He can evaluate that particular, objective fact directly. Photos of him wearing a bathrobe from thirty or forty years ago don't change that. They don't indicate that he ever owned a bathrobe (he could have borrowed one for that shoot) much less that he currently does. And they don't indicate that he wears a bathrobe in any space where there's a television.

  • 2
    "Apparently the Times made up this detail" = I'm missing that part of the story. Who's saying it's a made up detail?
    – user1530
    Mar 23, 2017 at 20:59
  • 1
    If you open the article in Chrome Incognito mode it will often times work. Mar 23, 2017 at 21:38
  • 6
    @Brythan then "apparently" isn't the right phrase there. "Spicer claims it was made up" would make more sense. Granted, Spicer and company claim every news story is made up.
    – user1530
    Mar 23, 2017 at 22:42
  • 4
    -1 "the Times made up this detail" seems to be pure speculation. Even if you actually believe Spicer and Trump despite their long history of lying, there is no evidence that the Times made this up. It could just as well be that their source made this up. But really, the most you can say is that Trump disagrees with the claim. And that is not something you can use as a basis to speculate that the Times made up other stories.
    – tim
    Mar 24, 2017 at 10:06
  • 2
    @Brythan you are missing some important modifiers in your explanation. It was spicer alleging it was an objective, checkable fact that was incorrect. To omit that modifier implies that it truly was--which is of course highly debatable.
    – user1530
    Mar 24, 2017 at 15:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .