White House press secretary Sean Spicer finally seemed to reach a breaking point Tuesday when it comes to questions about President Trump and Russia.
Spicer got testy in an exchange with American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan after Ryan announced a premise that Spicer disagreed with: that the White House has a Russia issue to deal with. By the end, Spicer accused Ryan of pushing her own agenda and even instructed her not to shake her head at him.
“No, we don't have that,” Spicer said when Ryan cited the White House's Russia issue. When Ryan continued with her question, he cut in again: “No, no. I get it. But I've said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there's not a connection. You've got Russia.”
Spicer then offered this zinger: “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.”
When Ryan tried again to ask her question, Spicer said, “I appreciate your agenda here. … At some point, report the facts.”
Spicer pointed to those who have said there is no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump team — which is true but is only a part of the inquiries and is still being investigated by the FBI. He added, “I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head.”
Spicer then told Ryan that she was “going to have to take no for an answer” when it came to the idea of collusion with Russia.
Ryan moved on, asking about former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's visit to the White House and the fact that she wasn't a Trump supporter. But Spicer again took issue.
“It seems like you're hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays,” Spicer said.
After some more back-and-forth, Spicer again spotted Ryan shaking her head and told her, “Please, stop shaking your head again.”
This is hardly the first time a White House press briefing has featured a pitched battled between reporters and Spicer. And Spicer hasn't been afraid to accuse reporters, including CNN's Jim Acosta and ABC's Jonathan Karl, of pushing their own agendas — especially on issues like Russia.
But the exchange with Ryan sure seemed to venture into different territory. Instructing her to stop shaking her head came off as demeaning, and a number of White House reporters took issue with it on social media.
What's even more puzzling about it is that Spicer continues to point to the lack of evidence of collusion while ignoring the fact that the FBI is investigating possible ties between Trump and Russia. The idea that an FBI investigation involving the administration doesn't amount to a hill of beans just doesn't make much sense. Yet the mere premise that Russia is an issue for the White House seemed to set Spicer off.
Ryan, meanwhile, had just one word:
Update: Hillary Clinton spoke out against Spicer later Tuesday.