A growing narrative among the liberal media in recent weeks was that the Trump administration had not only stopped conducting daily briefings at the White House, but had ceased holding briefings for the White House press pool altogether.
In response to that criticism, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Jan. 22 to explain the situation.
“The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the ‘podium’ much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press,” he wrote. “I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!”
Though not specifically named, the president was no doubt referencing CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, who has gone round and round with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on numerous occasions and had become well-known for his disruptive antics during official briefings. It is worth noting, however, that Acosta certainly wasn’t alone, as other reporters have done the same thing on occasion.
Nevertheless, the first official White House briefing in about a month was held Monday, but it appears at least some reporters hadn’t taken to heart the message sent by Trump, as Sanders was treated quite rudely by at least one reporter.
However, this time it wasn’t Acosta who chose to disrupt the event and spar with the press secretary — though his name did come up. Instead it was NBC reporter Kristen Welker who badgered Sanders repeatedly with an overtly biased question.
NBC News’ Kristen Welker continually shouts at White House press secretary Sarah Sanders
Sanders responds: “I never thought I would be shutting down one reporter to go to Jim Acosta but here we are” pic.twitter.com/XMF8jYnYRQ
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 28, 2019
Welker began by referencing a previous question from another reporter about the indictment of longtime Trump friend and associate Roger Stone and asked if the president had “ruled out” offering Stone a pardon if he is ever convicted.
“Again, I’m not aware of any conversation even regarding that, or a need for it,” Sanders replied.
As she motioned toward another reporter, Welker persisted and asked, “Sarah, just to follow up, can you guarantee that the president won’t pardon Roger Stone?”
Sanders responded, “Again, I’m not gonna talk about hypotheticals that are just ridiculous and things I haven’t talked about.” With another motion to the side of the podium — which apparently was toward Acosta — she added, “Jim, go ahead.”
But Welker wasn’t satisfied and pressed for a third time with a question about Stone’s alleged connection to WikiLeaks.
As Welker continued to ask her questions about Stone, the unflappable Sanders said, “I never thought I would be shutting down one reporter to go to Jim Acosta … but here we are.”
There were some chuckles among the crowd until somebody — presumably Acosta himself — said something a few seconds later that wasn’t quite picked up by the mics, but nonetheless caused laughter among the press pool and brought a smile to Sanders’ face.
Considering Stone has only recently been indicted and has yet to even stand trial, much less be convicted, any discussion of a presidential pardon is premature.
Of course, that didn’t stop Welker from repeatedly asking about it.
Welker was bound and determined to get something out of Sanders that could be used to create a negative narrative about Trump and Stone, but Sanders refused to play ball. Instead, she displayed patience and good-natured humor in referencing how Welker had assumed Acosta’s usual role.
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