White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer hugged it out with American Urban Radio Network reporter April Ryan at Wednesday’s briefing, one day after ordering her – twice – to stop shaking her head, when she asked him about the White House’s “image” in the midst of all the Russia probes.
Spicer, who seemed to have done some deep breathing exercises before today’s presser that he had so badly needed one day earlier, called Ryan’s name first as he moved to the Q&A portion of his presser.
“Why, thank you Sean!” Ryan beamed.
“How are you today?” Spicer asked.
“I’m fine. And how are you?” Ryan smiled.
“Fantastic!” Spicer said, as White House correspondents in the room tittered.
One day earlier, Spicer’s over-caffeinated exchange with Ryan caused something of a national incident. It started when Ryan tried to put a question to him about fixing the White House image she suggested has suffered owing to the “Russia issue.” Apparently a trigger phrase for Spicer.
“No, we don’t have that,” Spicer shot back, adding, “You’ve got Russia!” which is The Trump White House’s top candidate to date for Press Briefing Snark Hall of Fame:
“If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.”
Spicer then accused Ryan of pushing an agenda, and told her to “stop shaking your head.”
Moments later, he interrupted her to say, “it seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” adding, “I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again,” when she tried to disagree.
Hillary Clinton, who appears already to have moved on to the speechifying stage of election-loss recovery, referenced the Ryan ruckus while speaking to a sold-out crowd at a meeting of the Professional Businesswomen of California.
“April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off as she tried to ask a question,” Clinton rued.
Media pounced on the Ryan-Spicer rumble. She gave an interview to WaPo, telling them, “This is just par for the course, unfortunately. ” CNN had her on too, where she said she was “shocked” to learn Clinton had referenced her in her speech, later tweeting “Preach @HillaryClinton!!!”
It’s not the first time the Trump White House has singled out Ryan. During his famous mid-February press conference, Trump had asked her to “set up a meeting” with the Congressional Black Caucus, in one of many eyebrow raising moments at the event.