The State Department scolded reporters on Wednesday for being too interested in the U.S. stance on North Korea, and for other behavior the department thought was unprofessional.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s top representative to the press issued rebukes throughout the briefing, which also featured a discussion of hot-button foreign policy topics, starting with President Trump’s dramatic warning to North Korea.
“I know you all want to obsess over statements and all of that and want to make a lot of noise out of that, but what is important to keep in mind is that [following a diplomatic summit in the Philippines], we are all singing from the same hymnbook,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday.
That comment rankled some reporters. “We’re not ‘obsessing’ about this,” replied Matt Lee of the Associated Press. “This is the president of the United States threatening a nuclear-armed country … with ‘fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen.’ I don’t think it’s obsessing to want to know, to have a further clarification of exactly what that means and whether or not Heather Nauert
Nauert defended the use of the term. “I see a packed room of journalists here and normally there aren’t half as many as there are here today,” she said.
Other skirmishes were more managerial. “You’re in trouble with me,” she told a reporter from an Asian media outlet. “Misstating some things that we talked about right here at the podium.”
Another journalist received a more pointed rebuke. “You know I always call on you,” she told a foreign reporter who covers Israeli-Palestinian issues. “It seems that when you haven’t been called on in the past, you’ve chosen to vent that in public. Our reporters typically don’t do that.”
Watch the video:
State Dept Heather Nauert Schools NBC Andrea Mitchell:
Andrea soooo worried Trump said mean things about North Korea pic.twitter.com/m0T9zQK7TF
— Տᗩᑎᗪᖇᗩ ن RussianBot (@SandraTXAS) August 10, 2017