White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got grilled by White House reporters on Wednesday about the Trump administration offering misleading claims about whether it was sending an aircraft carrier to the Sea of Japan as signal to North Korea.
Although Spicer said last week that the carrier would serve as “a huge deterrence” to North Korea, the New York Times reported on Tuesday that the U.S.S. Carl Vinson was actually sailing toward the Indian Ocean at the time the U.S. announced that it was heading to the Sea of Japan.
In fact, as of Monday, the carrier was sailing through the Sunda Strait in Indonesia, which is thousands of miles south of the Sea of Japan.
Asked by reporters about this on Wednesday, Spicer insisted that the administration didn’t say anything misleading in its past statements on the carrier, as the carrier was bound to wind up in the Sea of Japan at some point.
“The president said we have an armada that’s going toward the peninsula,” Spicer said. “That’s a fact, it happened. It is happening, rather.”
In a followup, a reporter noted that “when the President of the United States says there’s military hardware going to a region in the middle of a crisis on the Korean Peninsula, the allies of the United States are encouraged,” but “when that happens to not be the case, they can interpret that as a false encouragement” for their efforts.
“How is this White House explaining to South Korea and Japan there was no U.S.S. Carl Vinson?” she asked.
Spicer, however, seemed unfazed.
“The statement that was put out was that the U.S.S. Carl Vinson carrier group was headed to the Korean Peninsula,” said Spicer. “It is headed to the Korean Peninsula.”
“It’s headed there now, it wasn’t headed there last week,” the reporter shot back.
“But that’s not what we said,” Spicer replied. “We said it was heading there. It was heading there. It is heading there.”
Watch the whole video below.