Sean Spicer leaves White House press briefing without answering single question

Clark Mindock
Spicer didn't take a single question from the White House press corps: Getty / Alex Wong

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has surprised his press corps by leaving a briefing without answering questions.

Mr Spicer left his press briefing after White House budget director Mick Mulvaney spoke to the press at length about a bipartisan budget agreement reached in Congress the night before that would keep the government funded until September. Once Mr Mulvaney had finished, Mr Spicer simply left the room with him.

His exit prompted some in the press corps to cry his name and raise their hands in frustration. While it isn’t unusual for White House officials to come in and brief the press on specific policy subjects, it isn’t common for the press secretary to not stick around to take questions afterward.

Reporters say they had questions on several other topics aside from the budget deal, including a phone call between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders spoke by phone earlier in the day about the ongoing civil war in Syria. The White House said in a statement that they discussed the need to "end the violence" in the war torn country and a proposal from Mr Trump to create safe zones there.

"President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence," the White House statement read. "The conversation was a very good one."

That call was the third time the two presidents had spoken on the phone since Mr Trump was inaugurated in January. It also comes after tensions had flared up between the two following Mr Trump's ordered for a missile strike on the Syrian regime.

There were plenty of other subjects that reporters may have also been interested in asking questions about. The bipartisan budget deal Mr Mulvaney had come to discuss was the latest in a series of legislative defeats for the administration and has been claimed by Democrats as a win in the face of Republican control of both houses of Congress and the presidency. Mr Trump has also pushed recently for a vote in the House of Representatives on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act even though it isn’t clear that Republicans have enough support to pass the measure.