The White House extended a sugary olive branch to the press corps on Wednesday after a top aide’s derisive comments angered members of the media.
Chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughVeteran suicides dropped to lowest level in 12 years Veterans grapple with new Afghanistan: 'Was my service worth it?' VA adds 245K more employees to vaccine mandate MORE, alongside press secretary Josh Earnest, made a rare visit to the press area in the West Wing to drop off a box of doughnuts, according to reports.
“We appreciate what you do,” McDonough told media members, according to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.
“You should have brought Ben Rhodes,” a reporter responded.
McDonough and Earnest termed their visit “press appreciation day,” according to a pool reporter in attendance.
The White House is seeking to heal the damage done by a New York Times Magazine profile of Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser.
Rhodes is quoted in the profile ridiculing the White House press corps as too naive to cover world events.
He said the average reporter the White House talks to “is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” suggesting that allowed him to easily manipulate media coverage of major U.S. foreign policy issues, including the Iran nuclear deal.
“They literally know nothing,” he said.
Earnest told reporters on Monday he had several conversations with Rhodes after the piece was published and said the aide’s description of reporters was “not how it was intended.”
“Based on that reaction, I am confident he would say it differently if given a chance,” Earnest said.