A Fox News reporter allegedly accosted a Gateway Pundit reporter in the White House briefing room Friday, loudly telling everyone in the room the publication “hates” minorities.
“They hate blacks, Jews, Hispanics,” Fox radio correspondent Jon Decker said, calling attention to Gateway Pundit reporter Lucian Wintrich’s presence in the briefing room. Decker also emailed the White House press listserv, which includes thousands of reporters, to inform them the White House had admitted Gateway Pundit into the briefing.
“Wild,” Buzzfeed White House correspondent Adrian Carrasquillo tweeted as he described the incident, adding that he saw Decker pointing at Wintrich while repeating the accusation a second time to ensure everyone knew who he was talking about.
Wintrich later accused Decker in a tweet of screaming at and assaulting him in the briefing room, and said he plans to press charges. “This man accosted me,” he told his outlet. “He pushed me in the back room and then grabbed my arm. He started screaming to the entire press room that I’m a Nazi and The Gateway Pundit is a white supremacist publication.”
Wintrich told The Daily Caller News Foundation he was taken aback by the unprovoked behavior, especially given the fact that Fox News sometimes runs Gateway Pundit content, and that Decker’s words and actions were “completely inappropriate.” He also mentioned — in reference to Decker’s accusation he is a White supremacist — that he is a gay conservative with a Colombian boyfriend, and that he grew up in America because his family fled the Holocaust.
Gateway Pundit is a conservative blog that sometimes traffics in conspiracy theories, such as the debunked theory Barack Obama was not born in the U.S., which the site revived Thursday. Wintrich has personally tweeted out statements and memes considered objectionable by mainstream outlets, including a derogatory comment on women gaining the right to vote.
Several reporters shook Decker’s hand as a sign of appreciation for his comments, according to an unnamed White House reporter quoted by Politico. “Props to Jon Decker for speaking up in the press room,” the reporter said. “It would be much harder for a minority reporter to speak up like he did. As a member of the WHCA board and as a white man him standing up and saying that meant a lot to reporters in the room.”
Decker and Fox News denied the assault. “Earlier today I had a conversation with a representative from the online publication Gateway Pundit,” Decker said in a statement obtained by Politico. “The conversation was straightforward and direct. I also informed the full White House pool that this representative was present in the Briefing Room. At no time did I accost or assault this individual. More than a dozen witnesses will attest to this fact.”
Few reporters have publicly taken sides on the dispute. Breitbart’s White House correspondent Charlie Spiering defended Wintrich on Twitter, saying he has “every right” to attend the briefing and ask questions. Andrew Feinberg, a correspondent for the state-funded Russian outlet Sputnik, echoed those sentiments, calling Decker’s behavior “unhelpful” and unprofessional. “I’ll say this again: I’m no fan of [Gateway Pundit’s] politics but [Wintrich] has every right 2 be in the briefing room if there for work.”
New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush apparently did not witness the incident, but tweeted he is taking Decker’s side of the story. “I’m buying Jon Decker’s side of this story,” he said.
Following the briefing, April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, approached Wintrich and bluntly asked him about the incident. “Are you a racist? People are saying you’re racist,” she said.
“No, of course not,” Wintrich replied, calling Decker’s accusations “disgusting.”
“Half my family died in the Holocaust,” he said, adding at Ryan’s request that he is “all for” integration and happy for blacks and whites to come together. “I was hanging out with a friend of mine who was a black gay Republican last night.”
The White House press corps is on edge following the Trump administration’s ongoing decision to open up the briefings and give questions to reporters from outlets they personally don’t respect, such as Breitbart News and of course in this case Gateway Pundit.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect an interview with Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich.
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