White House press secretary Sean Spicer addressed the supposed feud between two of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, saying he thinks it’s been “overblown” in the media.
Recent reports have indicated that two camps within the White House – one comprised of allies of chief strategist Steve Bannon and the other comprised of allies of senior adviser Jared Kushner – have been at each other’s throats.
Spicer, speaking at an event at the Newseum in Washington, DC, on Wednesday morning, characterized the supposed feud as a result of passionate debate on policy issues.
“I think a lot of it is overblown, what you see in the media,” Spicer said. “The president has brought together an unbelievably talented team of successful individuals … and there’s a lot of opinions. But that’s, frankly, it’s the same team, in a lot of ways, that had a very successful campaign. I think sometimes you see some of that spill over, and that’s unfortunate, because there’s going to be on policy a very spirited debate.”
Spicer said he thinks it’s good for Trump to have a difference of opinions among his staff.
“I think that’s healthy for the president that he’s not getting a monlithic group of advice saying ‘you should only do this,'” he said. “… He gets a lot of opinions and ideas and policy shifts that help guide his ultimate decision-making. That’s a very healthy thing. And I think that what we bring together is a lot of talented individuals.”
But the fighting between Bannon and Kushner seems to have escalated beyond spirited policy debates.
The Daily Beast reported last week that Bannon had called Kushner a “cuck” behind his back. Bannon also told his associates, “I love a gunfight,” according to an Axios report, which said that “the hatred between the two wings” in the White House was “intense and irreconcilable.”
The stories of civil war in the White House started rolling out in earnest last week after the White House announced Trump was reorganizing the National Security Council and that Bannon would no longer be on it.
The civil war might not have started with the decision to remove Bannon from the NSC – New York Magazine reported that it started with the failed effort by Republicans to pass a healthcare-reform bill – but now that the narrative about Bannon has shifted to one of him losing power, the infighting has become more public.
Watch Spicer’s full explanation of the feud below: