A State Department spokesman broke into hysterics at the mention of “transparency and democracy” Thursday in a bizarre display caught on video.
Deputy spokesman Mark Toner welcomed staffers and reporters to a press briefing, but couldn’t maintain a straight face when he addressed the purpose of the meeting.
“Welcome to the State Department,” Toner said. “I think we have some interns in the back. Welcome.”
“Good to see you in this exercise in transparency and democracy,” Toner said before breaking down into a laughing fit.
“Is that what this is?” a reporter can be heard asking. “I thought it was an exercise in spin and obfuscation.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to break out in laughter,” Toner said, before blaming the reaction on an upcoming vacation.
Toner went on to deflect questions on the $400 million in ransom money paid to the Iranian government in return for four US hostages, RT reports.
“[The] bottom line is that we generally make a practice of not commenting publicly on the details of these kinds of transactions such as settlement payments,” Toner stated. “We don’t normally even identify the parties involved, and that’s just due to the confidential nature of these transactions.”
“Well, let me just make the point that that doesn’t seem very transparent,” one journalist reportedly pointed out.
“And your point is well taken,” Toner responded.