Sean Spicer berates veteran White House correspondent April Ryan: 'Stop shaking your head!'

'Too many women have had a lifetime of practice taking this kind of indignity in stride,' says Hillary Clinton

Maya Oppenheim
Wednesday 29 March 2017 14:06 BST
Spicer has a go at April Ryan: 'Stop shaking your head'

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has told a female reporter to “stop shaking your head” in his daily press briefing.

Mr Spicer appeared to become annoyed after April Ryan, a veteran African American journalist and White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, asked him what the Trump administration would do to restore its public image following its slew of controversies and reports of its ties to Russia.

Mr Spicer became visibly defensive as he responded to the journalist’s question about Russia and argued everyone has reached the conclusion there was no “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia – overlooking the fact investigations continue to be ongoing.

The Trump aide said: “I'm sorry that disgusts you. You're shaking your head”.

Mr Spicer said Ryan appeared "hell-bent" on pushing her own image of the White House when she asked what President Donald Trump might be doing to repair his relationship with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who did not support his campaign and is meeting with the president this week.

As she protested, Mr Spicer said: “I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again.”

Ms Ryan, a long-time political journalist, reacted to the incident moments afterwards on Twitter.

She also addressed the row in an interview later, saying: "Sean is being the White House press secretary, talking about and trying to make this administration look better than what it does right now, and unfortunately I was roadkill today."

Hilary Clinton alluded to Mr Spicer’s rebuttal of Ms Ryan during one of the first public speeches she has made since losing the election in San Francisco on Tuesday. Mr Trump’s former Democrat rival did not refer to the journalist by name but said: "Too many women have had a lifetime of practice taking this kind of indignity in stride”.

Ms Ryan recently grabbed headlines after Mr Trump asked if she would help set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus.

When questioned about whether he planned to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of African-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump asked Ms Ryan if she could organise it.

"I'll tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?" the billionaire property developer said. "Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?

Ms Ryan replied by saying "no” and adding that she was "just a reporter."

Mr Trump continued: "Set up the meeting. Let's go, set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the black caucus. I think it's great. The Congressional Black Caucus."

After the news conference, Ms Ryan tweeted: “I am a journalist, not a convener! But thank you for answering my questions.”

During this week’s fiery exchange with Ms Ryan, Mr Spicer also made a joke about Russian salad cream which was immediately picked up on and mocked on Twitter.

In the middle of the press breifing, Mr Spicer quipped: "If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.”

"Sean Spicer equating #RussiaGate to dressing is beyond ludicrous. Trump is under FBI investigation!" said one critic.

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