ABC’s Vega, CBS’s Reid Demand WH ‘Retract’ Rockville Comments in Light of New Developments

After remaining silent on the alleged March rape of a teenage girl and illegal immigrant in a D.C. suburb, journalists from ABC and CBS demanded the White House on Friday apologize, “retract” their comments on the case, and admit they “unfairly jump[ed] to conclusions” now that prosecutors have dropped the rape charges against the two teenage boys.

The same media that’s chiding the White House and press secretary Sean Spicer for arguably jumping the gun on March 21 (even though he only commented because he was asked at a briefing) sang a different tune on unresolved cases like Michael Brown or Alton Sterling, but that’s just the way the liberal media works.

As this writer wrote on March 21, local Fox affiliate reporter Ronica Cleary from WTTG Fox 5 asked Spicer two questions about what was known at the time and Spicer responded. So, cool your jets, liberal media.

Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders filled in for Sean Spicer because he’s fulfilling his duties in the U.S. Navy. So, she was on the receiving end of this lengthy question from ABC senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega:

And then I want to ask you about this case out of Maryland. As you probably know, the prosecutors have dropped the rape charges against the two undocumented teens accused attacked of attacking that 14-year-old classmate. This White House has been — was vocal on that case. From that podium, Sean Spicer said “a big part of the reason the President has made illegal immigration and crack down a big deal because of tragedies like this.” Did this White House unfairly jump to conclusions in this case?

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Again, this is coming from the same outlet that, like their fellow cohorts, sought to speculate on what happened with the Trayvon Martin, the Duke lacrosse team, and Michael Brown cases before the facts came to light. 

Back to the present, Huckabee Sanders responded “we're always looking to protect the American people” and that “Sean was speaking about what he knew at the time and, certainly, I haven't had a chance to dive into the latest on that.”

Vega followed up, wondering if Huckabee Sanders could “retract anything that the White House has said so far.” The deputy press secretary replied that she won’t “retract anything without further information in front of me.”

CBS national correspondent Chip Reid then interjected: “Have you talked to Sean and does he have any regrets about what he said?” Huckabee Sanders explained that she hadn’t spoken to Spicer as he’s not allowed a lot of free time to check in.

Before moving on, an unidentified male reporter in the Tribune news service seat fired off a fourth question from the left:

On that question, is there a general danger that the White House through its rhetoric is animating too many people to jump to conclusions against immigrants and in the process diminishing the entire immigrant community, whether law-abiding or not? 

Huckabee Sanders shot back that “[t]he President has been incredibly outspoken against crime in any form, fashion, certainly from his joint address to his speech last week on Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

“Look, this is a law and order President. He's focused on restoring law and order. We've seen a spike in crime and rates starting in 2015, across the board, not just in any particular sector. I think that's why he campaigned and talked so much about needing to restore law and order in this country,” she added.

Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript from May 5's White House Press Briefing:

White House Press Briefing
May 5, 2017
1:47 p.m. Eastern

CECILIA VEGA: And then I want to ask you about this case out of Maryland. As you probably know, the prosecutors have dropped the rape charges against the two undocumented teens accused attacked of attacking that 14-year-old classmate. This White House has been — was vocal on that case. From that podium, Sean Spicer said “a big part of the reason the President has made illegal immigration and crack down a big deal because of tragedies like this.” Did this White House unfairly jump to conclusions in this case? 

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think — the — we're always looking to protect the American people. Sean was speaking about what he knew at the time and, certainly, I haven't had a chance to dive into the latest on that but we will and get back to you. 

VEGA: You want to retract anything that the White House has said so far?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I'm not going to retract anything without further information in front of me, but certainly — 

CHIP REID: Have you talked to Sean and does he have any regrets about what he said? 

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I have not talked to Sean. He is on Navy duty where you don't get to carry your phone around very often, I don’t think. I talk to him every day but I haven't yet today. So, when I do, I’ll certainly ask him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRIBUNE REPORTER: On that question, is there a general danger that the White House through its rhetoric is animating too many people to jump to conclusions against immigrants and in the process diminishing the entire immigrant community, whether law-abiding or not? 

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Not at all. The President has been incredibly outspoken against crime in any form, fashion, certainly from his joint address to his speech last week on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Look, this is a law and order President. He's focused on restoring law and order. We've seen a spike in crime and rates starting in 2015, across the board, not just in any particular sector. I think that's why he campaigned and talked so much about needing to restore law and order in this country. It's why he's focused on securing our border, stopping drug trafficking, human trafficking. Those are things that have been a priority for him and I think that the reason is because he places such a high value on that and I think to call into question his rhetoric to be anything other than somebody who has condemned hate and violence in all of its forms is simply just a complete misrepresentation not only who the President is, but of what he's also — what he said.

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center