It matters because it has a chilling effect on other government claims.
Last night an anonymous senior government official told The New York Times that Donald Trump is a “faker”, spreading intelligence to the press in an attempt to “affect policy”.
The mischievous read on the moment is that, not content with feeling about as out of step with US reality as the “hot beverage, no apology” postmen who troll the Gherkin, Trump had to write to the Times to prove it. Something that the operation “did not come without risks and consequences, possibly making our intelligence agencies into potential tools of retribution”.
The dubious conclusion that was drawn in the text? “But for more than a year we have endeavoured to serve our country in the Trump administration, and in the end we found ourselves powerless to do so.”
This is an anti-democratic way of making a call. It deprives all those government people around Trump of credibility and has led to panic, if not resignation, in Whitehall. Which means there’s an anti-democratic way of responding to a rogue official calling a spade a spade.