Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer pushed back hard Thursday against CNN, labeling its reporting on an alleged dossier on President-Elect Donald Trump irresponsible and the behavior of one of its correspondents unacceptable.
Appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Spicer said CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta was “patently false” when he complained on the air that Trump refused to take a question from the network during his news conference on Wednesday.
“Jeremy Diamond actually works at CNN. He got called on. So that just tells you how out of touch Jim Acosta is.”
“Jim might want to take a look at the staff roster at CNN, or turn on his own television,” he said. “Jeremy Diamond actually works at CNN. He got called on. So that just tells you how out of touch Jim Acosta is.”
Spicer also disputed Acosta’s contention that the Trump spokesman had threatened to kick him out of the news conference. He said he talked to Acosta after the event had ended.
“This is why I find it so funny that he’s going out there … and lie so bad, that it was after the press conference — this is on tape — it was after the president-elect had left and the press conference had ended, I walked up to Jim Acosta and said, ‘Your behavior was unacceptable,'” he said.
Spicer said Acosta was out of line to shout over another reporter who had been granted a question.
“There were 450 individual reporters there,” he said. “He believed that he was somehow entitled to one [question]. His behavior at the time was rude, disgraceful, inappropriate, disrespectful. For anybody to address any president like that, I don’t care what your party is, you don’t address the president or the president-elect the way he did.”
Acosta, Spicer said, was upset even though CNN already had gotten a question “apparently because one to their network wasn’t enough.”
Spicer said Acosta was disrespectful not only to Trump but to his fellow journalists.
“I think he owes an apology to the press corps,” he said. “[National Public Radio reporter] Mara Liasson had been called on. She was behind him … He kept yelling and yelling and yelling.”
Spicer disputed the contention by CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper that the story on the dossier was fair. He called the network’s conduct “highly irresponsible.” The network reported that a retired British intelligence officer had discovered that Moscow had gathered dirt on Trump that could be used to compromise him. Spicer said he asked for time to review the documents.
“I’m not trying to kill the story,” he said he told the network. “I just want to get it right. Give me some time. They said, ‘no.'”
Spicer gave the network no credit for withholding details of the document that it could not verify. He said it gave BuzzFeed a green light to publish the whole document.
“They all play off each other … It’s cute by half,” he said.
Asked by LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham if he would consider rotating seating positions at news conferences to give reporters from different organizations more prominence, Spicer said it was a possibility.
“I want to bring more people into this process that … aren’t necessarily part of the Washington Establishment,” he said.