'You're Calling Him a Liar?': Spicer Battles Reporters Over Travel Ban, 'False' Reports
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got into it with reporters this afternoon after saying that Friday's executive order should not be called a "travel ban."
Earlier today, DHS Secretary John Kelly said the order was "a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system" from seven countries.
NBC News' Kristen Welker pointed out to Spicer that President Trump used the word "ban," reading a tweet from the president.
If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the "bad" would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad "dudes" out there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
"He's using the words that the media is using," Spicer answered, arguing that it "can't be a ban if you're letting a million people in."
Welker asked if the president was himself "confused" about the order.
Spicer denied that, saying the president has consistently called it "extreme vetting." Welker then followed up, asking about Republicans - including Paul Ryan - who have argued that the policy was not rolled out "smoothly."
Spicer then blamed NBC News for causing "confusion," calling out "inaccurate" reports that Secy. Kelly was unaware that the order was being signed by Trump.
"With all due respect, you have been part of the confusion," he said, adding that Kelly himself has now said he was briefed in advance.
Welker said the New York Times was the outlet where that report originated.
"OK, I apologize that NBC News' reporting is based on the New York Times' false reporting," Spicer shot back.
Times reporter Glenn Thrush interjected that the report on Kelly was indeed accurate.
"So you're calling [the Homeland Security Secretary] a liar?" Spicer asked.
Earlier in the briefing, Spicer blasted Senate Democrats for boycotting hearings for Trump's cabinet nominees.
Watch the contentious exchange above.