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Spicer clashes with media in return to podium

White House press secretary Sean Spicer launched an attack on the news media Tuesday during his highly anticipated return to the podium.

The spokesman dismissed reports of an impending staff shake up, saying that President Trump is “very pleased” with the work of his aides and is merely “frustrated” with the spread of “fake news.”

That prompted CNN reporter Jim Acosta to challenge Spider to cite an example of fake news. Spicer pointed to tweets from reporters at the BBC and Politico from over the weekend claiming that Trump wasn’t following the translation of a NATO speech by the Italian prime minister.

 

 

Acosta shot back, saying that “reporters make mistakes,” while a second reporter, Peter Baker of The New York Times, accused Spicer of blowing the incident out of proportion.

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“Your trip was all over the front page,” Baker said. “You're making something out of one tweet instead of the vast majority of coverage.”

“With all due respect, I think when you see instances like that get perpetrated over and over again, that is frustrating,” Spicer replied, adding that the media “get to decide what is big and what is not” but that “a lot of things have been pushed out based on unnamed unaccountable sources that is very troubling.”

Spicer abruptly ended the briefing after the heated exchange, prompting groans and cries of “Sean!” from some in the press corps.

The on-camera briefing was Spicer's first in two weeks, a span that included Trump's nine-day overseas trip.

Spicer and the embattled communications shop are under pressure as Trump mulls an overhaul at the White House.

Communications director Mike Dubke has resigned, and the White House is considering holding fewer on-camera briefings and having other senior aides step in to help Spicer at the podium more frequently.

The spokesman dismissed reports that a broader staff shakeup is afoot. Spicer himself has been the subject of rumors that his job might be in jeopardy.

“I think he's very pleased with the work of his staff,” Spicer said. “I think he's frustrated, like I am and so many others, to see stories come out that are patently false, to see narratives that are wrong and see quote-unquote fake news.”