Fox News host Chris Wallace on Thursday said that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary was a “hero” after he told reporters at a holy site in Poland to “kiss my ass.”
During a visit to a memorial to Pope John Paul II on Tuesday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had ignored questions from reporters about his overseas gaffes and his suggestion that Israelis were culturally superior to Palestinians, but traveling press secretary Rick Gorka responded with rage.
“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” Gorka shouted, adding, “Shove it.”
The aide later called two of the reporters to apologize, according to Politico.
“There were important things that Romney said in speeches both in Poland and in Israel, and the press got it’s knickers all in a twist because of the fact that he — you know, they didn’t have access to him,” Wallace explained to Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade on Thursday.
“And if you watch the tape — I don’t know if you’ve seen it — of the reporters shouting at him at a site [that had] some respect and some reverence for the Poles, and shouting at him, you know, ‘Have your gaffes overshadowed the trip?’ That’s not a question that you’re expecting an answer, that’s a tantrum.”
Wallace added: “And, quite frankly, I thought the press guy for the Romney campaign, who told him to ‘shove it’ and show some respect and ‘kiss my blank’ — you know what? He’s a hero as far as I’m concerned.”
“Is he really?” asked a stunned Kilmeade. “You can’t say this is a holy site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then curse somebody out.”
“Well, I don’t know,” Wallace replied. “I thought what the reporters did was wrong. Having said that, I thought that Romney should have held more [press] availabilities. I can understand the frustration. If you were a reporter — and yes, he did talk to some anchors — but if you are a reporter there for The New York Times or whatever and you’ve gone on all these days and you don’t get to ask the candidate a question, you know, I will say this, [President Barack] Obama did hold news availabilities — press conferences — at every stop on his trip [overseas] in 2008. Romney should have done the same thing.”
“Romney’s campaign has got to get it into his head: He is a potential president, he’s not an Olympic organizer or a CEO.”
During his seven-day trip to Britain, Israel and Poland, Romney held a single five-minute news conference and only answered three questions.
“So it’s official: Romney is leaving a 7-day foreign trip after answer only 3 Qs from the media,” The New York Times‘ Ashley Parker tweeted on Tuesday.
“We didn’t need to come all the way over here to handle photo ops,” a member of the press corps told Politico. “There is a growing frustration among reporters, a growing sense that the campaign doesn’t get it — we don’t want to screw you, we just want to do our job.”
Listen to the audio below from Kilmeade & Friends, broadcast Aug. 2, 2012.
(h/t: Media Matters)