“No, we don’t have that,” said Spicer.
Ryan cited investigations into the activities of the Trump campaign and Russia. “I get it but … I’ve said it from the day I got here until whenever that there is no connection. You’ve got Russia. If the president puts Russian dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection,” Spicer said.
After some more pushback from Ryan, Spicer said, “I appreciate your agenda here.” He said that people briefed on the Russia thing have reached the same conclusion about this matter. And as he unfurled his explanation, he snapped at Ryan: “I’m sorry that that disgusts you. You’re shaking your head. I appreciate it,” he said with sarcasm.
As a matter of fact, Ryan was displaying unimpeachable body language at that moment.
“At some point, April, you’re going to have to take no for an answer with respect to whether or not there was collusion,” Spicer said. On the matter of changing the perception of the White House, Spicer said, “We’re going to keep doing everything we’re doing to make sure 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.”
Then the conversation took a turn. Ryan asked about a meeting with former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, someone who hasn’t supported Trump. Spicer responded:”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. … It seems like you’re hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays. … I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again.”
In early days of the Trump administration, Spicer complained from the lectern that coverage of President Trump wasn’t quite what he preferred. “The default narrative is always negative,” Spicer said at a briefing that followed what Trump viewed as unflattering stories on his inauguration. “And it’s demoralizing.” Since then, the objectively, nakedly negative stories have been delivered through a very reliable delivery apparatus: The drama and ouster surrounding former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the stupid and inaccurate tweets from the president himself, the failure to come up with a viable alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and others cited by Ryan.
Asked whether she felt Spicer’s treatment was insulting, Ryan confirmed. “It was insulting but … people are seeing the treatment of the press and how we are treated,” said Ryan in a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog. “We know this, we see this behind the scenes. You got a glimpse of this on camera.” The Erik Wemple Blog credits Ryan for her calm but kindly dissents: This is sui generis treatment of the press.
Following her face-off with Spicer, Ryan received messages from many friends and colleagues, including Republicans and a former Republican White House press secretary. “They were in support of me and they had me laughing,” said Ryan to the Erik Wemple Blog.
“This is just par for the course, unfortunately. But I’ll be back. I’ll be back,” she says.