Shree Chauhan, an American citizen of Indian descent, has accused White House press secretary Sean Spicer of racism after an exchange in an Apple store in Washington.
The 33-year-old woman challenged Sean Spicer as he was shopping, asking: “How does it feel to work for a fascist?” – referring to President Donald Trump.
Sean Spicer replied: “It’s such a great country that allows you to be here.”
Shree Chauhan recorded the encounter and posted it online, drawing 300,000 views since March 11.
She has been attacked online since posting the video, with critics branding her “vile” and accusing her of harassment.
Image source Wikimedia
When asked by reporters about the encounter, Sean Spicer said: “I interact with individuals all day long. Ninety-nine percent of them are pleasant, even with people who may not agree with our philosophy or programs, whatever.”
“It’s a free country and people can act how they want, no matter how that’s interpreted.
“And as long as they stay on the right side of the First Amendment, we’re good.”
The footage shows Sean Spicer responding to the initial barb, about working for a fascist, by smiling and saying: “We have a great country.”
Shree Chauhan, the founder of an education start-up, then asks him: “Have you helped with the Russia stuff – are you a criminal as well? Have you committed treason, too, just like the president?”
“What can you tell me about Russia, Mr. Secretary?” the questioner persists.
Sean Spicer then walks away saying: “Thank you very much,” while Shree Chauhan repeats: “You know you work for a fascist, right?”
In a blog post, Shree Chauhan wrote that she is an American citizen who was born and raised in the United States.
She said she was “stunned” by the press secretary’s comment, writing: “That is racism and it is an implied threat.”
Shree Chauhan, who is the daughter of immigrants, acknowledged that she was “impolite” in her comments to the Trump aide.
She said she wanted to seize the “enormous opportunity… to get answers without the protections normally given to Mr. Spicer”.
Shree Chauhan hit back at her online critics, writing on Twitter: “I have clear feelings for the man who is a fascist’s spokesperson. Nazis weren’t stopped with niceties.”
It has been claimed that Sean Spicer’s remark – “it’s such a great country that allows you to be here” – may have meant it’s great that Americans can approach presidential aides even while they are out shopping.
Shree Chauhan has rejected that interpretation, saying that Sean Spicer should have said “it’s such a great country that allows dissent” if that was what he meant.
The White House has banned several media outlets from attending an informal press briefing.
The CNN, BBC, the New York Times and others were excluded from an audience with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, with no reason given.
It came hours after President Donald Trump delivered another attack on the media in his CPAC speech, saying that “fake news” was the “enemy of the people”.
President Trump has previously singled out CNN and the New York Times for criticism.
Recent reports claiming Donald Trump’s campaign aides had contact with Russian intelligence officials have particularly irked the president.
Shortly after his speech on February 24, a number of selected media organizations were invited into Sean Spicer’s office for an informal briefing, or “gaggle”.
Those allowed into the room included ABC, Breitbart News, Reuters, Fox News and the Washington Times.
Image source Wikimedia
When asked why some were excluded, Sean Spicer said it was his decision to “expand the pool” of reporters.
Sean Spicer also warned the White House was going to “aggressively push back” at “false narratives” in the news.
Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail and Politico were also left out, but CNN was the only major TV network to be denied entry.
USA Today, Time magazine and the Associated Press refused to attend as a protest.
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said it was the first time such an exclusion had happened in the newspaper’s history.
A White House spokeswoman said they had invited a group which included all journalists in the press pool, which shares information with other reporters
“We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that,” Sarah Sanders said.
During the briefing, Sean Spicer addressed reports that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had asked the FBI to publicly dispute media stories about contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Sean Spicer said Reince Priebus had little choice but to seek assistance in rejecting what Spicer said were inaccurate reports. The FBI did not issue the statement requested.
Donald Trump has been dogged by claims of alleged links to Moscow since his presidential campaign.
He asked for national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation last week after he misled VP Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia’s ambassador during the transition.
The White House Correspondents’ Association says it is “protesting strongly” about how the press briefing was handled by the White House.
President Donald Trump is seeking a tax on goods imported from Mexico and use the revenue to build a border wall, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has said.
Donald Trump’s plan was announced just after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a visit to Washington, amid a row sparked by the question of who will pay for the wall.
On January 25, the president signed an executive order to create a wall on the US southern border with Mexico.
Making Mexico pay for it was one of Donald Trump’s key election campaign pledges.
However, President Enrique Pena Nieto has always insisted that will not happen and on January 26 he pulled out of next week’s White House meeting.
Hours later, Sean Spicer told reporters that President Trump had discussed the funding proposal with lawmakers, and that they are considering making it part of a tax reform package the US Congress is planning.
Image source Flickr
Sean Spicer said that a 20% tax could generate approximately $10 billion in tax revenue per year.
He said aboard Air Force One: “Right now our country’s policy is to tax exports and let imports flow freely in, which is ridiculous.”
He added that the tax will “easily pay for the wall”.
The plan is still being finalized, Sean Spicer explained, saying that the tax could ultimately be as low as 5%.
The rift between the neighbors and trade partners has deepened just days into Donald Trump’s presidency.
After President Pena Nieto pulled out of the summit, Donald Trump said the meeting would have been “fruitless” if Mexico didn’t treat the US “with respect” and pay for the wall.
Earlier the Mexican leader said he “lamented” the plans for the barrier.
In a TV address, Enrique Pena Nieto told the nation: “I’ve said time and again: Mexico won’t pay for any wall.”
The White House has defended Donald Trump’s voter fraud claim, saying that the president believes that millions of people voted illegally in the US election based on “studies and evidence”.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said President Trump “does believe that”, but offered no evidence to support the claim when pressed by reporters.
Donald Trump has repeated his claim to explain why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
However, any notion of widespread voter fraud has been widely rejected.
Sean Spicer told reporters on January 24: “He continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”
The press secretary’s comments came after President Trump told congressional leaders behind closed doors on January 23 that three to five million undocumented immigrants had illegally voted in the election.
Donald Trump, who first made the claim in a late November tweet, has never provided any evidence.
Fact-checkers have rejected it as untrue and Republican election officials in key states have said they found no proof of fraudulent voting.
Image source CNBC
On January 24, the National Association of Secretaries of State said it had confidence in the “systemic integrity of our election process” and was not aware of any evidence related to Donald Trump’s claims.
Hillary Clinton received nearly three million votes more than Donald Trump, who won the presidency by prevailing in so-called swing states.
Republicans admonished Donald Trump and urged him to drop the matter a day after the closed doors meeting with congressional leaders.
Senator Lindsey Graham called the comments “inappropriate”, adding that Donald Trump should “knock this off”.
He continued that President Trump “seems to be obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud”.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also said there was no evidence to support Donald Trump’s claims.
Republican Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent also weighed in, saying Donald Trump needed to move on and “get to the serious business of governing”.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders said it was “nonsensical” and he feared Donald Trump was paving the way for Republican governors to “go forward with voter suppression”.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.