So Sean Spicer is back with another twist, actually saying that it is somehow “demeaning” to veteran White House reporter April Ryan to suggest that she can’t “take it.” By “it,” he is, of course, referring to the fact that he told a grown woman to “stop shaking your head” when she was listening to him (not) respond to her question, and cutting her off sharply when she tried to bring her question back into focus.
“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,” Ryan said of the incident on Tuesday.
Many were offended and accused the press secretary of being racist and sexist in his rant against the journalist.
Spicer brushed off his behavior, however, insisting that he doesn’t treat one person different from the other, Talking Points Memo notes.
“April is a tough reporter that knows how to throw it out and take it back,” Spicer told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “I think it’s frankly demeaning for some folks to say that she can’t take it. We went back and forth. I disagreed with the angle and the way that she was coming at the question, but that’s what we do. We go back and forth, and I don’t treat one person different than the next. I go at her the same way that I would go at Peter Alexander or Jonathan Karl or Glenn Thrush from the New York Times.”
He later added, “To suggest that somehow because of her gender or race she’d be treated differently, I think it’s frankly demeaning to her. She’s a tough woman that fights every day to get out there and for her publication and for her audience, to get the questions that she wants answered. And I respect that, I really do.”
On Wednesday morning, Ryan further addressed the issue, underlining Spicer’s behavior as evidence of a trend, referencing the press secretary’s recent description of a female Politico reporter as an “idiot.”
“We are the press who is under attack,” she told CNN’s New Day. “We are under attack by this administration. It’s about discrediting credible media. And at this point—I happen to be a black woman, but I’m part of the press. So I guess this is part of a series of two women this week who have been in the news over something with the press secretary.”
On Wednesday, with all eyes on Spicer during the daily briefing, the press secretary actually gave Ryan the first question and asked her how she was doing.
“I’m fine; how are you?” Ryan replied.
“Fantastic,” Spicer said.
Just peachy. I’m not sure what to make of this exchange. It seems, of course, like a weak, fake attempt to make things appear as normal as possible as discussions about the optics of the original situation continue. Meanwhile, Ryan still has a job to do—which she’ll continue to do because that’s what a lot of women, particularly black women, tend to do: buckle down and do what needs to be done. And Spicer, well, he’s gonna be Spicer.