The term deep state, or derin devlet in Turkish, originated in 1950s Turkey and refers to a secretive network of influential members of the military or government agencies that operates outside the democratic system.
The deep state is believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.
Spicer was asked by Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker during a Friday press briefing if the White House believes “there’s such a thing as the deep state actively working to undermine the President.”
“I think there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office that there are people who stay in government who are affiliated with, joined and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration,” he said.
“So I don’t think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during the eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed that agenda and want to continue to seek it,” Spicer added.
“I don’t think that should come as a surprise to anyone,” he continued.
Trump and his several senior advisers believe that leftovers from the Obama administration are attempting to discredit the new president’s authority and leak damaging information to the media.
On Friday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked dozens of attorneys appointed by former President Barack Obama to resign in order to allow a “uniform” transition to the administration of his successor, Trump.
The move came a day after Fox News presenter Sean Hannity, who is a strong supporter of Trump, called for a “purge” of “deep-state Obama holdovers.”