WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House press secretary Sean Spicer made headlines of his own on Tuesday after the president’s embattled spokesperson stormed off in the middle of a press briefing.
Spicer, who has made his disdain for the liberal leaning media no secret, walked out of of the briefing after reporters began hurling questions at him about the administration’s crack down on anonymous sources and what the president has called “fake news”.
Spicer’s frustration began when a reporter asked about a Washington Post report from last week that said Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, had attempted to set up a back channel with Russia.
“You’re asking if he approves of an action that is not a confirmed action,’ Spicer replied. “Your question presupposes facts that have not been confirmed.”
As the briefing went on, Spicer continued to hammer press claims of “anonymous sources” that have appeared in numerous articles painting the president and his administration in an unflattering light.
Pressed by a reporter to give an example of what he would declare a “fake news” story, Spicer referenced a tweet by a BBC reporter now joining The New York Times who claimed the president had disrespected the Italian prime minister during the Group of Seven summit in Sicily by failing to wear an earpiece so he could accurately hear a translator’s description of Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s remarks.
However, Spicer pointed out, that allegation turned out to be untrue as Trump was wearing an earpiece.
“The president did a great job at NATO, building stronger bonds with the G-7, increasing America’s presence around the world and that’s the kind of thing the BBC and ultimately a reporter who has now joined The New York Times will push out and perpetuate without an apology,” he said. “The problem is the president gets frustrated when he sees fake stories get published, things that are not based in fact.”
The reporter, who was in attendance during the briefing, quickly cried foul, objecting to Spicer’s using his tweet as an example.
“It’s true. You did it,” Spicer shot back. “That is just fake.”
Things quickly went from bad to worse as reporters from several news outlets that the president has repeatedly called “the enemy of the American people” began shouting down the Trump spokesperson over the president’s claims and demanded he provide a “legitimate” list of stories the White House believes to be false.
“What I’m telling you,” Spicer said, visibly trying to contain his anger, “is that the reason the president is frustrated is the perpetration of false narratives, the use of unnamed sources over and over again about things that are happening that don’t ultimately happen and I think that is troubling.”
With that, the embattled press secretary gathered his things and left the room amid boos and cat calls from many of the reporters in attendance.
Mr. Trump has waged a near constant battle against the news media since the presidential campaign. The war of words has steadily intensified since his inauguration in light of often negative coverage, including allegations by news organizations such as CNN and MSNBC, who have openly promoted the theory that the president colluded with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election.