“Is it safe yet?” Sean Spicer wonders as he decides to test the waters with an audio-only press gaggle.
When Russia stories start to mount in the press, you can be sure Sean Spicer won’t be around to field questions from the press on the matter.
So it was really bitchy of Spicer to get into it with White House Correspondent April Ryan, who called Spicer out on his disappearing act and the president’s lack of accessibility, especially since today’s press briefing was an audio-only gaggle for some strange reason.
Briefing over. Spicer getting into it with April Ryan now, bristles about admin being more accessible. Ryan says it’s about American people
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) March 6, 2017
Ryan jumped off a question from another reporter asking when the press would have access to the president next. Spicer bragged about his track record with the press, which is laughable, when Ryan said:
Everything is closed. Normally we have a photo shoot —
Spicer cut her off to say “Don’t give me this ‘normally we do'” and that he made it clear that as Press Secretary he would be doing things differently, such as smaller gaggles, irregular briefings and off-camera briefings.
RELATED: Sean Spicer Is So Frazzled By Sessions Revelation He Can’t Even Tweet Straight This Morning
Ryan followed up by saying, “This is about the American public seeing their president” and mentioning the fact Trump had just signed a major new executive order banning travel from Middle Eastern countries.
But while Spicer likes to toot his own horn gratuitously, he is <GASP> LYING!
He hasn’t held an on-camera briefing in a week. In total there have only been 17 press briefings in 45 days with the majority being held at the start of the new administration when briefings were held almost every weekday.
But after Valentine’s Day, that changed and it’s becoming part of a pattern.
So what happened on February 14 in the year of our lord 2017? That was the day after the allegations about Gen. Michael Flynn caused the National Security Advisor to resign and Spicer faced some tough questions from reporters on the Russia issue. Afterward, as stories in the press swirled around the administration’s ties to Russia, Spicer disappeared for six days, even missing a scheduled briefing the same day the President held his bizarre 77-minute press conference.
He reappeared on Feb. 21, and held three consecutive press briefings after the Flynn story died down and was replaced with stories in the press about Trump’s bonkers press conference and his rally in Melbourne, Fla.
On Feb. 24, the leading story was on the White House’s request to the FBI to swat down Trump-Russia stories in the media. There was no press briefing for another three days while that story dominated the news cycle (which may have also been due to the weekend, but there was also no briefing on that Monday, Feb. 27). By Feb. 28, the Press Secretary addressed the allegations on overreach by the White House into the FBI investigation.
That was the last on-camera briefing. In between, Feb. 28 and now, it was discovered Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to Congress during his confirmation hearing when he said he didn’t have any contact with the Russians during the course of the campaign — he had two meetings with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And still just crickets from the White House.
RELATED: Twitter Is Furious To Learn Major News Organizations Were Barred By Sean Spicer From Press Event
Following the Sessions revelations, with no on-camera briefing from Spicer over the issue, Trump accused former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower a month before the election — a gravely serious accusation with no evidence offered. The President also abandoned his previous travel ban executive order and signed the refugee 2.0 ban today. Still today, there was an audio-only gaggle — not an official press briefing.
One might expect that with such a heated political atmosphere in a new administration that the Trump team would be eager to swat down these allegations quickly. But Spicer seems to like to wait until the stories fester and dry up and he waits until the next story comes along that he can handle to make an appearance.
While Spicer can argue there are gaggles held in lieu of briefings, typically those are off camera, informal, and to smaller groups of reporters known as the press pool rather than the entire press corps.
So Ryan was dead on today — this isn’t normal and the administration owes it to the American people to provide more access to the press rather than hiding when tough stories about Russia are looming about.