"Why don't we turn the cameras on, Sean?" Can you tell us why you turned the cameras off?
Spicer didn't answer why the administration doesn't want reporters to turn the cameras on, and now several journalists are asking why those behind the cameras don't simply ignore the White House's wishes. Why are they off?'
Acosta revisited the question later in the briefing, and White House reporter and CNN contributor April Ryan said it was a "legitimate question". Spicer replied, "There's no cameras on Jim".
Pressed by Acosta - and other reporters - Spicer again refused to answer. 'It's a legit question, ' Acosta parroted. Acosta said. "You are a taxpayer-funded spokesman for the United States government".
"Can we have the cameras on, Sean?"
The US press secretary was being asked about the similarity between the visions and ideas of both leaders; with Modi promoting the "Make in India" campaign and Trump saying 'Buy American, ' and make in America - or 'Hire American'.
"Can we get this out of the way?" A third reporter, Trey Yingst of One America News Network, asked Spicer for a response.
Spicer shot back: 'Yes, some days it will happen, some days it won't. But when Trump held a Rose Garden ceremony with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even that route to the president was cut off.
Spicer began the press briefing announcing that he would allow still cameras. This past week, he gave interviews to Ainsley Earhardt and Pete Hegseth of "Fox & Friends", a talk show so friendly to the president that CNN media reporter Brian Stelter described it as a Trump "infomercial".
The new standard established by Spicer has served as a blanket excuse to keep the confrontational battles with the press that have frequently centered on charges having to do with Russian Federation and inquiries about the president's tweets out of the public eye as the White House reportedly searches for a new spokesman.
"Well there does seem to have been a drastic shift, starting from maybe the week before the president took his first trip overseas and now we see you on camera once a week", a reporter noted.
This matters. Not only is it it a break with long-held tradition, it's also an attempt by the Trump White House to kill off the daily briefing - or, at least, fundamentally weaken its relevance - through benign neglect. He said CNN reporter Joe Johns "was in my office this morning" and that another reporter, Athena Jones, asked a question in a briefing last week.