“You don’t seem so happy,” April Ryan remarked after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called on her during Tuesday’s briefing. She had no idea how right she was.
With so many investigations underway regarding Russia, alleged “wiretapping,” and other issues, the D.C. bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks wanted to know the administration might try to “revamp its image” in the coming weeks.
“No, we don't have that,” Spicer said, becoming immediately defensive. “I get it, but I've said it from the day that I got here until whatever, that there is no connection. You've got Russia. If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection.”
“I appreciate your agenda here, but the reality is — hold on,” Spicer continued, as Ryan tried to get a word in. “At some point, report the facts,” he said, arguing that everyone has come away with the conclusion that there was no “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia — while in reality investigations are ongoing.
“I'm sorry that disgusts you. You're shaking your head,” he said.
When Ryan pivoted to ask about Condoleezza Rice’s meeting with the president this week, Spicer responded by saying, “It.'s interesting that you ask those two questions back to back. On the one hand, you say, what are we doing to improve our image and here he is meeting somebody that hasn't been a big supporter.” He added, “It seems like you're hell bent on trying to make sure whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays.”
As she protested, Spicer said, “I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again.”
Moments later, Ryan offered up her one word reaction on Twitter:
“I've been here for 20 years, since 1997, the second term of Bill Clinton,” Ryan told MSNBC’s Katy Tur afterwards. “We've never seen anything like this before. And my question was simple. How do you change the perception problem basically? I don't know verbatim what I said, but that was the impetus and the crux of my question. And it went off into this Russian dressing, no shaking my head or whatever.”
“I understand what Sean is doing,” Ryan said, “Sean is being the White House press secretary talking about and trying to make this administration look better than what it does right now. Unfortunately, I was roadkill today.”
The Trump administration has been clashing with Ryan for weeks, beginning with what she described as a “physically intimidating” confrontation with White House communications official Omarosa Manigault outside Spicer’s office last month.
Days later, during his first press conference as president, Donald Trump asked Ryan if she could set up a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus.
“Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?” the president asked her.