CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter exulted with joy on social media after members of the media banded together to thwart White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“It happened! [Sarah Huckabee Sanders] tried to avoid [Hallie Jackson’s] follow-up questions by calling on The Hill’s [Jordan Fabian,] he tweeted.
It happened! @PressSec tried to avoid @HallieJackson's follow-up questions by calling on The Hill's @JordanFabian. But Fabian deferred to Jackson, so she could follow up. So many viewers have wanted to see this happen… unity… and today it did.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 18, 2018
“But Fabian deferred to Jackson, so she could follow up,” Stelter added. “So many viewers have wanted to see this happen… unity… and today it did.”
“We never said just kidding”
Stelter was referring to an exchange during the White House briefing Wednesday where Sanders tried to ignore a reporter’s follow up question, but was thwarted by the reporter she was trying to move on to.
“Why should this president have any credibility to Americans in what he says if in fact 24 hours later or in this case three hours later, the White House comes out and says ‘Just kidding,'” Jackson asked.
“I was interpreting what the president’s intention was, and stating the administration’s policy. That’s not exactly what you just explained,” Sanders responded.
“We never said ‘just kidding,’ and I think that you can take the fact that the president has credibility because he saw that he had misspoken and he wanted to clarify that yesterday, which he did,” she added.
Jackson was pressing Sanders over statements President Donald Trump made and then walked back about his relationship with Vladimir Putin. Sanders was defending the credibility of the White House despite the apparent missteps in messaging.
Here’s the video of the contentious exchange:
Good to see reporters having each others' backs in the White House briefing room. How it should be. pic.twitter.com/EXdYsswiwT
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) July 18, 2018
Sanders tried to move on to another reporter, Jordan Fabian, but he deferred instead to Jackson, who got to ask her question.
“Sorry, Hallie, go ahead if you want,” said Fabian.
“Thanks, Jordan,” Jackson continued, “you said to Josh that the president has been publicly critical of Vladimir Putin, and I just want to know when, because I don’t think any of us remember, at least I don’t remember, a time when the president has publicly called out Vladimir Putin.”
Sanders protested at first, but eventually answered the question from Jackson.
“I think that by stating the fact that the president said that Russia interfered with our election, that’s a pretty bold call out of another world leader,” Sanders said.
Stelter had criticized a Fox News reporter when he took a question from President Trump after he refused CNN’s Jim Acosta.