1. April Ryan vs. Sean Spicer — American Urban Radio Networks White House reporter April Ryan is frequently in the news for her clashes with Trump administration officials, but perhaps her most memorable one was in March with then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer, an incident that many of Ryan's peers said contained elements of sexism.
At the press briefing on March 28, Ryan asked Spicer how the White House would “try to revamp its image” amid several negative stories the administration was combating simultaneously. Spicer rebutted the suggestion that the White House was at fault for the negative media coverage and blamed reporters, including Ryan, for being “hellbent on trying to make sure whatever image you want to tell about this White House stays.” When Ryan went to explain she was “just reporting,” Spicer snapped, “You know what, you asked me a question and I’m going to answer it, which is, the president — I’m sorry, please stop shaking your head again.”
Immediately after his comment, other women journalists on Twitter defended Ryan. “Spicer lectures April Ryan, who is a grown woman,” tweeted New York Times’ Maggie Habberman. In an interview later on CNN, where Ryan was rewarded for the conflict with a paid contributor contract, she said she would begin "looking more closely" at whether Spicer is treating women differently than her male colleagues in the press.
2. Brian Karem vs. Sarah Sanders — Frustration in the Washington press corps runs deep when it comes to President Trump and his administration’s general antipathy for the news media. One of the many times that dynamic was on full display was in June when a reporter named Brian Karem, who works for Playboy and a local Maryland newspaper, went off on then-deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, after she criticized a retracted CNN report and said that people “deserve better from our news media.”
Karem accused Sanders of “inflaming everybody right here, right now with those words.” He shot back, “What you just did is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it and say, 'See, once again, the president is right and everybody out here is fake media,'" Karem said. "And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job."
Sanders replied, “I disagree completely. If anything has been inflamed, it's the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media. And I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond to his question." It wasn’t the last time Karem stood out in a press briefing. In early December, he asked Sanders on live national television if she’d “ever been sexually harassed.”
3. Jim Acosta vs. Stephen Miller — The only time White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has stepped to the podium in the press briefing room was on Aug. 2, and on that day, he got into one of the most heated exchanges of the year with CNN’s Jim Acosta. After Miller unveiled the White House's plan to restrict immigration levels, Acosta suggested that limiting immigration was antithetical to the American ideal.
“It sounds like you're trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Miller replied, “That's one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you've ever said. The notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.”
Top Trump adviser blasts CNN's Jim Acosta over immigration questions: "It's one of the most ignorant and foolish things you said" pic.twitter.com/4STyZ9e0q4 Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 2, 2017
Miller also accused Acosta of harboring a “cosmopolitan bias” for implying that having an English language requirement for future immigrants favored whites, noting that many non-white immigrants can speak English. Acosta had cited the poem inscribed by the Statue of Liberty that says in part to, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…,” and Miller noted that the poem had been added later and was not on the original statue. Acosta claimed victory, stating on CNN that Miller “really just couldn't take that kind of heat and exploded before our eyes.”
4. Trump vs. “Morning Joe” — It consumed nearly a full week of news when President Trump one morning in June unexpectedly lashed out at MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski with a set of tweets that called Scarborough “psycho” and claimed that he had seen Brzezinski “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” The two MSNBC personalities dedicated most of their three-hour weekday morning program criticizing the White House and calling Trump mentally ill, but nonetheless, a sitting president had personally disparaged two TV show hosts, something rarely, if ever, seen before. But the White House refused to back down.
...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no! Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
“I mean, I think that the president has been attacked mercilessly on personal accounts by members on that program,” Sarah Sanders said at the day’s press briefing. “He's been very clear that when he gets attacked, he's gonna hit back.” The next day, Scarborough and Brzezinski appeared on their show to assure that they were coping. "You know what, I think it's been fascinating and frightening and really sad for our country," she said. "I've been getting a lot of texts and hearing you all talking. Thank you. I'm fine. My family brought me up really tough. This is absolutely nothing, for me personally. But I am very concerned as to once again what this reveals about the president of the United States."
Scarborough said he also received messages from friends. "We're OK," he said.