Obama's chief of staff brought doughnuts to White House reporters amid tension over a top aide's comments

Barack Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough on Wednesday apparently brought a box of doughnuts to White House reporters gathered in the West Wing to show them that “we appreciate what you do.”

McDonough’s gesture came after President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, characterised Washington reporters as “27-year-olds” who “literally know nothing” in an interview with the New York Times Magazine.

Rhodes’ comments sparked a backlash among the reporters, as well as with Washington’s foreign-policy establishment, which he referred to as “the Blob.”

The Houston Chronicle’s Kevin Diaz described the scene Wednesday in a pool report:

What looks like a fairly quiet day at the White House starts on a high note as Josh Earnest and Denis McDonough swing through the press room with a box of doughnuts, attending to the care and feeding of the press corps on what they term “press appreciation day.”

“We appreciate what you do,” McDonough told the press, according to The Hill.

But at least one reporter was apparently not satisfied with the doughnuts.

“You should have brought Ben Rhodes,” he said.

In a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Rhodes’ comment about the “27-year-old” reporters was “not meant as a put-down” of the White House press corps.

“Based on that reaction I’m confident he would say it differently if he had the chance,” Earnest said.

The White House has been scrambling to clean up the political mess Rhodes created with his surprisingly blunt comments about the press, Washington’s foreign-policy elite, and the Iran nuclear deal.

In the interview, Rhodes was candid about how the administration has sought to shape its foreign policy, and went into some detail about how “Beltway insider” experts and reporters helped the White House sell the Iran nuclear deal to the general public.

The profile has been criticised by those who feel that Rhodes admitted to being part of a campaign to “spin” the narrative and deceive Americans into approving the landmark nuclear deal.

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