Reporter Allegedly Laughs When Told Trump Aide Got Emotional Over Navy SEAL's Death in Yemen

William Owens holds a photo of his youngest son Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen / AP
February 27, 2017

Politico reporter Alex Isenstadt allegedly laughed when he was told the White House deputy communications director got emotional after learning that a Navy SEAL was killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen, according to White House officials.

Isenstadt wrote a story published Sunday that described President Trump's press secretary, Sean Spicer, cracking down on media leaks. The article mentioned that Spicer criticized Jessica Ditto, the deputy communications director, causing her to cry. But she and Spicer denied the encounter ever happened.

"'The only time Jessica recalls almost getting emotional is when we had to relay the information on the death of Chief Ryan Owens,' Spicer said, referring to the Navy SEAL killed recently in action in Yemen," Politico reported.

The Politico report did not include how Isenstadt responded to Spicer's comment.

The reporter allegedly laughed and was dismissive after learning of Ditto's reaction to Owens' death in Yemen, the Washington Examiner reported, citing anonymous officials.

"He started laughing about that SEAL," said one official, who was upset that the Politico story described Ditto as a "more junior spokesperson."

Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens who was killed during a raid in Yemen in January.

Brad Dayspring, a Politico spokesperson, responded to the allegation, saying the source's account was a "patently false characterization of the conversation."

One Politico official told the Examiner that Isenstadt "chuckled" at Spicer's heated answers, not Owens' death.