WASHINGTON (WTXF/AP) - As commentators on cable TV called President Trump firing FBI director James Comey an abuse of power, the president was startled and infuriated by how his action was being received, according to a person with knowledge of his reaction.
The White House also did not appear to be prepared for the firestorm. Aides scrambled to rush out a statement on Comey's firing. But the White House's email system was running slowly. Journalists raced to Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office to confirm the news, prompting him to read the statement out loud before disappearing into his office.
Initial reaction from lawmakers was muted, and the White House appeared inclined to let the day finish without sending the president or top aides on television.
But as the response grew more critical, Trump ordered his press staff to get out and defend him.
A trio of senior aides, including Spicer, hastily headed out for TV interviews on the North Lawn of the White House.
That chore completed, Spicer still had to deal with a horde of other reporters. Turns out, he’d been waiting in the White House hedges after finishing a TV interview. (See video of somebody who looks very similar to Mike Jerrick reenacting that above.)
Then, he took a step out of the bushes and demanded that the cameras and their lights be turned off.
At the end of a long day, only the dim lights from reporters' cellphones lit the scene as the White House press secretary spoke, largely in the dark.