White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has become one of the best known members of the Trump White House, and not for all good reasons. First, there was his repetition of lies about the Inauguration size. And now he may have reached a new low. On Tuesday Spicer talked down to a veteran White House correspondent — a black woman — in a way that one person believes he would never, ever consider talking to a white man. There's a tweet that sums up Spicer's rudeness to April Ryan and it explains exactly why his words were so unacceptable.
The interaction went down during a press conference at the White House. Ryan, Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, asked a question about the administration's image and several negative news stories, including Russia. But Spicer cut her off. "No, we don't have that," Spicer countered. Ryan persisted with examples, but Spicer doubled down again and again.
Finally, the conversation shifted to Trump's meeting with Condoleezza Rice, who hasn't been a Trump supporter. Spicer then totally lost it. "It seems like you’re hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays … I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again."
Olivia Nuzzi, a White House correspondent for New York, had the perfect response:
Nuzzi hit the nail right on the head. It's hard to imagine Spicer speaking that way to the men of the Press Corps. But, luckily, she's not alone. Just as Nuzzi is another female reporter standing up for Ryan, there are others who have her back.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis, a New York Times White House reporter, explained to Vogue why it is important that women reporters are there in the briefing room: it's to be there for one another, as much as to women across the country
"As women, we have to support each other," Hisrchfeld Davis said. "It’s important for us to be in that room, in the briefings, in the news conferences, confronting the president just like male reporters do. I want people to see that the press corps is racially diverse, diverse by gender, diverse by background."
This time around the support didn't stop with female reporters: Even Hillary Clinton got in on Ryan's defense. But this shouldn't be necessary in 2017. Maybe Spicer needs another lesson from Melissa McCarthy. Either way, this treatment of reporters can't continue.