A tense White House briefing ended with a heated back and forth between press secretary Sarah Sanders and American Urban Radio Networks Washington bureau chief April Ryan Tuesday afternoon.
One of the main points of discussion during the briefing was President Donald Trump’s cancellation of a White House event to honor the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Trump pointed to the NFL’s national anthem controversy, while a separate White House statement said the event was canceled because the Eagles were trying to politicize it by only sending a handful of players and staff.
Near the end of the briefing, Ryan and Sanders had a tense exchange on the subject.
Sanders called on one reporter, but Ryan interrupted by shouting her own question.
“Is the president aware that this is about police-involved shootings and not about disrespecting the flag?” Ryan asked.
Sanders tried to ignore Ryan but ultimately relented.
“Is the president aware that taking the knee is about police-involved shootings?” Ryan asked, referencing the numerous players who have not stood during the national anthem the last two seasons.
Sanders started to answer but Ryan interrupted, which visibly annoyed Sanders.
“I let you rudely interrupt me and your colleague,” Sanders said. “I’m going to ask that you allow me to finish my answer. I would be happy to answer it if you stop talking long enough to let me do that.
“The president has made his position crystal clear on this topic. He feels strongly that standing for our national anthem is something that we should do, something that matters to what makes our country special and unique, and what sets us apart.”
Ryan then asked whether Trump would work to address the issue of police-involved shootings. Sanders, however, was already trying to move onto the next reporter.
“I’m going to deal with the issue of addressing your colleague’s question,” Sanders said, ending the discussion.
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