White House press secretary Sarah Sanders doubled down on President Trump’s suggestion that he is owed an apology from Disney CEO Robert Iger, who had recently apologized to Valerie Jarrett for Roseanne Barr’s racist comment about her.
“Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2018
ABC and its parent company, Disney, moved quickly on Tuesday to cancel the “Roseanne” reboot in the wake of a series of late-night tweets by its star, one of which compared Jarrett, a former Obama adviser, to an ape. Jarrett said on MSNBC Tuesday night that she had received a call from Iger prior to the announcement that “Roseanne” had been canceled.
During Wednesday afternoon’s daily press briefing, a reporter asked Sanders why Trump chose to focus on the ABC apology in his tweet, rather than “the underlying issue of concerns about a racist comment [Barr] tweeted out.”
Sanders, who had kept her answers to other questions relatively succinct, made a lengthy defense of Trump’s tweet, saying that “no one’s defending what she said” and calling Barr’s comment “inappropriate.”
Sanders also said she was not aware of the president having any conversations with Barr, who is a Trump supporter, following the actress’s controversial tweet.
“The president is simply calling out the media bias; no one’s defending what she said,” Sanders said.
Sanders then spoke for two minutes straight about how Trump can’t seem to get any positive coverage from many news networks, including the signing of a bill Wednesday afternoon, before lamenting all the times Disney-owned media gave platforms to Trump critics.
“The president’s pointing to the hypocrisy in the media saying the most horrible things about this president, and nobody addresses it,” Sanders said. “This is a double standard that the president is speaking about. No one is defending her comments — they’re inappropriate — but that’s the point he was making.”
Iger and Trump have clashed in the past. Last summer, the Disney CEO said he was stepping down from a White House business advisory council because of Trump’s move to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Read the full exchange below.
“Has the president spoken to Roseanne Barr, who has been a longtime friend of his, and why did he choose to address the ABC apology instead of the underlying issue of concerns about a racist comment she tweeted out?”
“I’m not aware of any conversations. The president is simply calling out the media bias; no one’s defending what she said. The president is the president of all Americans. He’s focused on doing what is best for our country, and you can see that in the actions that he’s taken. You can see where he’s focused on unemployment being at the lowest since 2000; opportunity investment zones to encourage investment in under-served communities; an opioid initiative to combat a crisis that impacts all Americans; and today, the president signed legislation to give patients the right to try medication that could actually save their lives. And I’d point out that while the president signed that legislation and actually addressed America, two networks chose not to cover it and instead covered something totally different . . . a massive piece of legislation that had bipartisan support that was life-changing — literally life-changing — for millions of Americans. Two networks chose not to cover the president’s remarks on that. He’s simply pointing out the bias. The president’s pointing to the hypocrisy in the media saying the most horrible things about this president, and nobody addresses it. Where was Bob Iger’s apology to the White House staff for Jemele Hill calling the president and anyone associated with him a white supremacist? To Christians around the world for Joy Behar calling Christianity a ‘mental illness’? Where was the apology for Kathy griffin going on a profane rant against the president on ‘The View’ after a photo showed her holding President Trump’s decapitated head? And where was the apology from Bob Iger for ESPN hiring Keith Olbermann after his numerous expletive-laced tweets attacking the president as a Nazi, and even expanding Olbermann’s role after that attack against the president’s family? This is a double standard that the president is speaking about. No one is defending her comments — they’re inappropriate — but that’s the point he was making.”
Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report.