Montel Williams is going to loooovvvve this.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest was pressed today on the choice of West Point grad and Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. And guess whose name the reporter brought up?
At around 30 minutes into the press conference, Earnest called on April Ryan of American Urban Radio. “I saw your hand was raised earlier and it’s not now,” he said, coaxing her to ask a question. “It’s not a pop quiz.”
Ryan deadpanned, “You’re being very attentive.” [Lots of laughter in the White House Briefing Room.] She looked around and added, “I wasn’t being funny.”
Ryan asked, “Who has the president consulted with while he was working on this whole process? Who was in his ear? Who was in the White House’ ear?”
Earnest: “I can’t get into specific conversations, but there was a commitment to reach out to a wide range of stakeholders to make sure that the criteria that was being used for decided to nominate Mr. McDonald was inclusive of the qualities that would be required in the leadership. So that’s sort of highlights the kinds of credentials that Mr. McDonald brings to this task. …He has decades of experience running a large organization. He brings a wealth of experience and skills to this task.”
Ryan spoke of the choice of VA Secretary as “an issue that has passions that run the gamut.” She said there are some who have wanted to present names to the President. Someone like Montel Williams. “Petitions on White House website include Montel Williams, a television personality, but he also worked in the military for some 22 years, he was in intelligence, he wanted to talk to people. If you could, could you give us the list of people the President has talked to? We’re hearing a lot of people out there are very passionate about this issue.”
Ryan seemed to be asking, not so clearly, why hasn’t the President consulted with Montel Williams?
Earnest offered her a really bland answer that never addressed Williams having the President’s ear. As Williams recently remarked on Twitter, he can’t get the “damn White House” to return his calls.
Earnest replied to Ryan,”We welcome the active interest of so many people in making sure we live up to that covenant.”
In other words, Montel on the White House speed dial? Not so much.
Watch the press conference here.