A tweet published on Saturday by BBC reporter James Landale is fake news, says the White House.
After criticizing the media for writing “fake news” at length during a press briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked to give an example.
Friday, the president was having a great discussion at the G7. And someone from the BBC and, ultimately, an incoming reporter from the The New York Times tweeted that the president was being rude by disrespecting the Italian prime minister.
That alleged disrespect came in the form of Trump not wearing his translation earpiece during Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s speech. It was backed up by a video in which other world leaders can be seen wearing headphones and listening, but Trump’s visible left ear remains bare, and there’s no wire dangling from his right ear, either. Watch:
Trump was wearing his earpiece later during Gentiloni’s speech, though. You can see it in his right ear, and the wire hangs down in front of his tie.
While Spicer called it “fake news,” it’s clear that for at least part of the speech, and certainly the part Landale saw, along with the rest of the planet, Trump was tuning out.
The small size of the earpiece, which has also been used by previous presidents, can create the illusion that he isn’t wearing one. In the past, however, Trump has not worn an earpiece when meeting with foreign leaders, such as when he greeted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe back in February.
“I think when you see instances like that get perpetrated over and over again, that is frustrating,” Spicer later said of the tweet.
The tense exchange happened at the very end of the press conference before Spicer left the podium while a barrage of follow-ups (“Is Kushner fake news?!”) followed him. Watch:
“When you see stories get perpetrated that are absolutely false, that are not based in fact, that is troubling,” Spicer said.
But, again, no earpiece: