Those Spicer days were memorable for the wrong reasons. “It really was — walking into that building a very hostile environment, I would say, for the first three to five months,” said Thrush at a session moderated by Margaret Carlson and also including NBC News’s Katy Tur and The Post’s Robert Costa. Spicer announced his resignation as press secretary in July and left the White House at the end of August.
Nowadays, says Thrush, the “surface” relationship between working reporters and the White House is “amicable.” “The main problem with this White House is a truth issue. They just say things routinely that are false or contorted and so the nutritional value of your interactions with anyone in the White House — pre-Mueller, post-Mueller, during Mueller — tend to be of the junk-food variety.”
The New York Times reporter, of course, was addressing working-level relations, not the level of ire coming from the president himself. Which remains intact as of Wednesday’s Twitter updates:
And there’s also the question of bar height. To say that the hostility has leveled off since Spicer’s time is a rather loose standard. After all, Spicer launched some dastardly attacks on media figures in his tenure. Media-bashing from the briefing room lectern still occurs, as when current press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opined on whether an ESPN anchor could be fired over her tweeted remarks that President Trump is a “white supremacist.”
Thrush spoke of covering Trump in his previous incarnation as a reporter for New York-based publications, including the New York Daily News. “I think prior to covering him as a presidential candidate, my last two interactions with Donald Trump was not returning his phone calls when he was pushing for an exit ramp on the West Side Highway for his development program,” said Thrush. “Former mayor Ed Koch used to be described as ‘unavoidable for comment.’ Donald Trump has taken that shtick national.”