It’s a day ending in “y” so Sean Spicer is mad at the media.
During a daily press briefing, the White House press secretary claimed only the media is calling President Trump’s immigration executive order a “ban.” Yet Spicer himself called it a “ban” on Monday night, and NBC News reporter Kristen Welker pointed out on Tuesday that his own boss called it a “ban” too.
“So he says it’s a ban,” Welker said after quoting the tweet.
Spicer responded that Trump is “ using the words that the media is using. But at the end of the day—” he trailed off as Welker interrupted him. “Hold on, hold on. It can’t be a ban if you’re letting a million people in. If 325,000 people from another country can’t even—that is by nature not a ban.”
“It is extreme vetting,” Spicer concluded using a vague phrase Trump likes to use.
Welker pressed on: “The president himself called it a ban. Is he confused or are you confused?”
Spicer responded that he wasn’t confused.
“The words being used to describe it derive from what the media is calling this,” Spicer claimed. “He has been very clear that it is extreme vetting.” During the presidential campaign, Trump explicitly called for a “total and complete shut down of Muslims” entering the United States.
As the exchange continued, Welker cited a recent statement from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in which he said that the rollout of the executive order was “confusing.”
Spicer got defensive again.
“First of all, I think we've addressed that. We could have telegraphed this days in advance in which people could have gotten out of planes and come over here, which would have undermined the exact nature of what this sought to prevent, or we could have done it in a way that inconvenienced some folks for a little while.”
Spicer’s defensiveness on using “ban” is made more ridiculous given that he used that exact term to discuss the executive order during an appearance at George Washington University.
“Let me walk through the tick tock,” Spicer told a crowd on Monday night. “One, the ban deals with seven countries that the Obama administration had previously identified as needing further travel restrictions.”
A day earlier, Spicer called part of Trump’s order a “90-day ban” on This Week.
Spicer seems to be spinning so fast he can’t keep up with his own lines.