White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got fed up with reporter April Ryan’s unprofessional behavior at Tuesday’s White House briefing, telling the White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks to “stop shaking your head again” during a three minute Q&A with Ryan that devolved into a debate as Ryan kept interrupting and arguing with Spicer while demonstrably emoting throughout the exchange: waving her arms and wagging her finger as she addressed Spicer and then balling her hands in a fist under her chin at times and derisively shaking her head as Spice spoke.
Ryan sits in the third row center in front of Spicer making the exchanges between them quite personal by proximity. Ryan launched a broadside asking Spicer how the Trump administration can “try to revamp its image” with so many negative news narratives arrayed against it such as Russia and Sally Yates.
Ryan was wound up as can be seen at the beginning of the video, when she started out by saying/half talking to herself, “Sean, you don’t seem so happy, um go ahead…”
Spicer responded in part saying, “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight somehow that’s a Russian connection.”
A split screen version of the exchange was shown by MSNBC where Ryan is a regular commentator.
— Sue Ryan (@sueryan) March 28, 2017
Ryan is friends with Valerie Jarrett, former President Barack Obama’s closest advisor who served all eight years of Obama’s presidency by his side almost every day and night. Evidence of the cozy friendship between the reporter April and news subject Valerie can be easily found on Twitter:
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) March 24, 2017
UPDATE: Valerie Jarrett this afternoon retweeted praise of Ryan from her fellow Obama administration senior official Ben Rhodes that said, “April Ryan will still be shaking her head in that briefing room long after Sean Spicer is gone.”
April Ryan will still be shaking her head in that briefing room long after Sean Spicer is gone. https://t.co/ug8E90eGIS
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) March 28, 2017
Excerpts from the Business Insider report on the Ryan-Spicer fireworks.
She mentioned the Russia controversy as well as Trump’s unfounded claims that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election.
“I’ve said it from the day that I got here until whatever that there is no connection,” Spicer said. “You’ve got Russia!”
“If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection,” he continued.
“I appreciate your agenda here,” he added. “Hold on. At some point, report the facts!”
Spicer said Republicans and Democrats alike had said there was not evidence pointing to the Trump team’s collusion with Russia in election meddling.
“I’m sorry that that disgusts you,” Spicer told Ryan. “You’re shaking your head.”
…The reporter then followed up with a question about the president meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whom she pointed out Trump made a vulgar comment about in 2006 and whom she said did not support Trump in the run-up to the general election.
Spicer, dismayed, went back to lambasting Ryan.
“April, hold on, it seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” he said, later adding, “Stop shaking your head again.”
He said Trump was continuing to reach out to people who had disagreed with him in the past, adding “we’re bringing groups together.”
Featured image, screen grab via Twitter.
UPDATE: White House transcript:
April, go ahead.
Q All right, thank you. Sean — don’t seem so happy. Anyway, with all of these investigations, questions of what is is, how does this administration try to revamp its image? Two and a half months in, you’ve got this Yates story today, you’ve got other things going on, you’ve got Russia, you’ve got wiretapping, you’ve got —
MR. SPICER: No, we don’t have that.
Q There are investigations on Capitol Hill —
MR. SPICER: No, no — I get it. But you keep — I’ve said it from the day that I got here until whatever that there is no connection. You’ve got Russia. If the President puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection. But every single person —
Q It’s beyond that. You’re making it–
MR. SPICER: Well, no — I appreciate your agenda here, but the reality is —
Q It’s not my agenda.
MR. SPICER: No, hold on. At some point, report the facts. The facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion — Republican, Democrat. So I’m sorry that that disgusts you. You’re shaking your head. I appreciate it, but —
Q I’m shaking my head and I’m listening, and I’m trying to get —
MR. SPICER: Okay, but understand this — that at some point, the facts are what they are, and every single person who has been briefed on this situation with respect to the situation with Russia — Republican, Democrat, Obama-appointee, career — have all come to the same conclusion. At some point, April, you’re going to have to take “no” for an answer, with respect to whether or not there was collusion.
Q But my question was how do you change the perception of —
MR. SPICER: We’re going to keep doing everything we’re doing to make sure that the President — that what the President told the American people he was going to do to fulfill those pledges and promises that he made, to bring back jobs, to grow the economy, to keep our nation safe — that’s what he’s been focused on since day one. We’re going to keep focusing on that every single day.
Q But when Condi Rice comes Friday. Condi Rice did not support this President. She did not go to the convention. She comes — what is on the agenda, and how is their relationship? Has it healed since 2006 when he used a very negative word to describe her?
MR. SPICER: So, here’s what I’ll — hey, it’s interesting that you ask those two questions back-to-back. On the one hand, you’re saying what are we doing to improve our image, and then here he is, once again, meeting somebody that hasn’t been a big supporter of his.
Q But he called her that negative name in 2006.
MR. SPICER: No, no, but you put it — April, hold on. It seems like you’re hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays, because at the end of the day —
Q I am just reporting what —
MR. SPICER: Okay, but you know what? You’re asking me a question, and I’m going to answer it, which is the President — I’m sorry. Please stop shaking your head again. But at some point, the reality is that this President continues to reach out to individuals who’ve supported him, who didn’t support him — Republicans, Democrats — to try to bring the country together and move forward on an agenda that’s going to help every American.
That’s it, plain and simple. So if you’re asking what we’re doing, I think we continue to do it, which is to bring groups together that have been supportive of him, that haven’t been supportive of him, but that to share a goal, which is finding common ground on areas of national security, of personal security, of economic security, of job creation, of safer communities, of education, of healthcare that can unite us as a country and make the country stronger.
Q — about Russia and Tillerson Friday?
MR. SPICER: I think they’re going to — I’m not ready to
— when we’re done with that, we’ll see if we can have a readout.
MR. SPICER: Hold on, I understand that. We’re not at Friday yet. I will have a readout when that’s done.
I know the pool needs to get to the vans for the signing. Thank you. I’ll be back tomorrow. We’re going to do five days in a row this week, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, guys.
1:32 P.M. EDT”