Donald Trump’s ongoing feud with the press continued today during Sean Spicer’s daily press briefing where the president’s Press Secretary got in a rather heated argument with CNN’s Jim Acosta over Trump’s claims that President Obama had Trump Tower placed under surveillance.
Acosta asked Spicer for his thoughts on the matter in light of the fact that the Senate Intelligence Committee had found no evidence that Trump Tower had been placed under any sort of surveillance.
As is often the case with Trump and his surrogates, he did not directly answer the question. Instead he decided to kill time by recapping the coverage of the incident. During this segment, he delved into another classic Trump tactic. Namely, that of blaming the media. Rather than admit the president’s error, he attacked the way the press had covered Trump’s charges and accused them of being biased against the administration.
Throughout this exchange, Acosta appeared to be getting frustrated as he frequently attempted to ask Spicer for clarification regarding his question. Spicer, while continuing to discuss the news coverage, insisted that he was answering Acosta’s question despite never directly answering it.
This entire scene played like a microcosm of the Trump administration’s relationship with the press. When asked a hard question or called out on Trump’s alternative facts, they choose to deflect. Conway, for example, has mastered the art of subtly changing the topic. When asked a question, she’ll often go on a slightly related tangent that doesn’t actually have anything to do with answering the interviewer’s question.
Spicer, for his part, doesn’t quite have Conway’s grasp of the non-answer, but he is rather good at killing time by attacking the press, which is what he did here today. When Acosta pressed him for an answer, citing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report and various news outlets, Spicer got into an argument over Acosta’s sources.
Near the end of their exchange, Spicer misspoke and said that Acosta had zero intelligence. This prompted some laughs as Spicer quickly clarified that he meant to say that Acosta had no intelligence clearance. While neither party seemed angry over the incident, it was still an interesting exchange that highlighted the relationship between Trump and the press.
You can see the full exchange below.
Featured image via screenshot from video.