CNN anchor Jake Tapper called out White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday, issuing a scathing critique of Spicer’s attempts to downplay President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigrants and refugees.
Earlier on Tuesday, Spicer had insisted to the White House press corps that Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, was not a “ban” on Muslims, but an “extreme-vetting” system. When a reporter pointed out that Trump himself had used the word “ban” to describe his order, Spicer claimed the president was simply “using the words that the media is using.”
Tapper took issue with Spicer’s attempt at linguistic gymnastics.
“It seems odd, though. If you object to the term, you shouldn’t use it, right?” the anchor said on CNN’s “The Lead,” on Tuesday, cutting to an interview from last week in which Spicer used the term “ban” as well.
“To be fair, that was Sean Spicer on Sunday. Surely he has not used the term ‘ban’ since then,” Tapper said, before cutting to a clip of Spicer referring to Trump’s order as a “ban” at a George Washington University event on Monday.
“OK, everybody clear now?” an increasingly baffled Tapper asked. “Nobody should follow the lead of the biased media and call the executive action a ban. Instead, follow the lead of the White House, and call it a ban.”
Watch the takedown here:
Tapper’s comments come as CNN wrestles with its diminishing access to Trump’s White House. The administration has stopped sending Trump surrogates to appear on the network, in what one source from the network believes is an attempt to punish CNN for allegedly biased reporting, according to Politico.
Tapper in particular has stood out as a presidential watchdog. A week ago, he forcefully condemned Trump’s false claim that millions of illegal ballots had been cast for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — a claim for which Trump has provided no evidence.
The executive order Trump signed on Friday bars people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, as well as barring all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.