The White House has backpedaled on comments made by Press Secretary Sean Spicer after the U.K. blasted as “ridiculous” suggestions made by Sean Spicer that a London intelligence agency spied on Donald Trump for former President Barack Obama.
“We’ve made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and should be ignored,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May told the New York Times. “We’ve received assurances these allegations won’t be repeated. We have a close relationship which allows us to raise concerns when they arise, as was true in this case. This shows the administration doesn’t give the allegations any credence.”
On Thursday, Spicer spent nine minutes of a press conference reading a list of press clippings in an attempt to point to news organizations that have reported claims to back up a tweet sent by President Trump, accusing Obama of wiretapping him.
According to CNN, a White House official said national security adviser H.R. McMaster had a “cordial” conversation with his British counterpart on Thursday, where McMaster described Spicer’s comment as “unintentional.”
The Times reported “that the White House had backed off the allegation, although it was not clear whether it had apologized for airing it in the first place.”
Spicer’s filibuster-like reading of various news stories was in response to a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee declaring there is no evidence to support Trump’s wire tapping claim.
“It’s interesting to me… when one entity says one thing… you guys cover it ad nauseam,” Spicer said. “When Devin Nunes came out and said there was no connect that he saw to Russia, crickets.”
To prove his “point,” Spicer went on to read clippings from several news outlets, including Fox News and the New York Times. One of them alluded to a British spy agency being involved in Trump’s claims.
Spicer spoke with Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to Washington, on Thursday night to clear the air, according to the Times. The paper also said that Spicer’s briefing “turned into a full-blown international incident” and “British politicians expressed outrage and demanded apologies.”