Today, @PressSec asked the members of the @WhiteHouse Press Corps to share what they were thankful for before asking questions, but here's what she said first. #Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/QO7s9EfkHg— GOP (@GOP) November 20, 2017
With the Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, the White House decided to add some (unnecessary) holiday spirit to its last press briefing before the break – by turning the event into something reminiscent of a pre-school playgroup.
“This will be our last press briefing before the Thanksgiving holiday in this room so I want to share a few things that I'm thankful for,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the beginning of the briefing. “And I think it would be nice for you guys to do so as well before asking your questions.”
She began by saying she was “clearly thankful” for all the journalists in the room. However, it was apparently meant to be a joke because she followed it up, “In all seriousness...” before sharing “a few things” that she was actually thankful for – including her family, faith, members of the military, the police and first responders who “keep us safe here at home,” and “the incredible privilege of serving this president and the American people.”
She then laid out some ground rules, telling journalists they will have to talk about things they are thankful for before asking any questions.
“This is how it’s going to work today,” she said. “If you want to ask a question I think it’s only fair since I’ve shared what I’m thankful for… you start off with what you’re thankful for.”
Some reporters played along in what could only be described as an incredibly awkward bonding exercise, but ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega’s decided to subtly hit back.
“I’m thankful for the First Amendment,” she said, before inquiring the official White House position on the sexual assault and pedophilia allegations against Senate candidate Roy Moore, drawing audible cheers from the rest of the group.
When Sanders responded to Vega’s quip saying, “I think we all are,” American Urban Radio Networks correspondent and CNN contributor April Ryan interjected, reminding Sanders, “Yeah, we are part of it though” – with the emphasis on “we.”
Ryan had earlier told Sanders she was thankful "to be able to talk to you and question you every single day,” before posing her question, to which had Sanders had retorted, “I'm starting to regret calling on you first.”
Meanwhile, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller was admonished for refusing to follow the bizarre rule.
A number of reporters, who were not in the briefing room, took to social media to comment on the strange exercise.
I’m thankful for Bob Mueller. https://t.co/tQjGKiRCYu— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) November 20, 2017
I'm thankful to have never sat through a White House press briefing where I was expected to say what I was thankful for.— Angela GreilingKeane (@agreilingkeane) November 20, 2017
I'm thankful I live in a democracy, where the free press don't have to perform like schoolchildren for gov't authority figures. https://t.co/1yhifiTYJw— David Roberts (@drvox) November 20, 2017
I am thankful for not having to go to the briefing room every day— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) November 20, 2017
I am thankful for the 1st Amendment.— John Berman (@JohnBerman) November 20, 2017
(which I think protects me from having to say what I am thankful for.)
When the briefing is done all WH reporters must also put their toys away and sit criss-cross applesauce.— Ben White (@morningmoneyben) November 20, 2017
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Carlos Barria