Ever since President Donald Trump took office, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has had a rocky relationship with reporters—but on Tuesday, things took a surprising turn after he scolded a reporter for asking a question he clearly didn't approve of.
The heated exchange began when April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked him how the Trump Administration planned to revamp its image due to recent reports they've allegedly been colluding with Russia. Spicer immediately voiced his disagreement with the question's premise, and went on the defense.
"I appreciate your agenda here," he said. "At some point, report the facts. The facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion—Republican, Democrat—so I'm sorry that that disgusts you."
"You're shaking your head, I appreciate it," he added, clearly frustrated.
The press secretary then said there was no truth to the reports of Trump's ties to Russia, before sarcastically quipping, "If the president put Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection." Ryan then asked about Trump's recent meeting with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but Spicer again interpreted the question as an attack.
"April, hold on, it seems like you're hell-bent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays," he said. "I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again." Watch the moment here:
Many were quick to criticize the press secretary for how he spoke to Ryan, in particular taking issue with the fact that he told her to "stop shaking your head." But in a statement to MSNBC, Ryan said she "understood" why Spicer had acted that way.
"I understand what Sean is doing—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," she said.
In a tweet later that night, she offered just one word in response to the incident, before posting a followup tweet thanking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for defending her during her closing remarks at the Professional Business Women of California's (PBWC) annual conference on Tuesday.
Additional reporting from The Associated Press.