White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded on Monday to journalist April Ryan’s call for her ouster in light of the spokeswoman’s credibility issue, twisting the journalist’s words to claim that Ryan wanted her “decapitated.”
On Thursday, Ryan, an American Urban Radio Networks Washington correspondent and CNN political analyst, was commenting on the cable network about the recent revelation that the press secretary lied about the details of former FBI director James Comey’s firing.
“She out and out lied. And the people, the American people, can’t trust her,” Ryan said. “They can’t trust what’s said from the president’s mouthpiece, spokesperson from the people’s house; therefore, she should be let go. ... When there is a lack of credibility there, you have to start and start lopping the heads off.”
By the time Sanders spoke to Fox News on Monday, she had managed to twist Ryan’s demand for a staffing shakeup into a threat.
“I’ve had reporters say a lot of things about me,” Sanders told “Fox & Friends.” “They’ve said I should be choked, they said I should deserve a lifetime of harassment, but certainly never had somebody say that I should be decapitated.”
Sanders called Ryan’s comment “a new low even for the liberal media.”
“I think it just once again proves why this journalist isn’t taken seriously,” she said.
Sanders touted the same spin on Ryan’s remarks as her father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who tweeted on Friday that Ryan was inciting murder, calling on the White House Press Association to revoke her media credentials.
However, on Sunday, Ryan made it explicitly clear that her initial remarks were only metaphorical.
“You know about the firing ax, you know when we talk about people being fired, heads will roll,” she told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “I do not push for or support any type of violence against anyone, but I said what I said, and it was not about violence. It was about the chopping ax or the head rolling as far as the job.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report last week revealed that Sanders falsely claimed that “countless” members of the FBI agreed with President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey. She called the lie a “slip of the tongue,” despite the fact that she repeatedly said the FBI director’s dismissal was widely supported. She also acknowledged, per the report, that her assertion that rank-and-file agents had lost faith in Comey was baseless.