White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnanys husband broke his silence following a string of negative news stories which claimed he shouted from the back of the briefing room and got into a bickering match with a photographer for not wearing a mask.Sean Gilmartin — a relief pitcher who started his career with the New York Mets in 2015 and played for the Tampa Bay Rays last season — made his first appearance in the James S. Brady Briefing Room on Wednesday, the New York Post reports
He was there to support McEnany, but quickly became embroiled in the latest West Wing controversy when a White House pool report claimed he shouted, “You crushed it, Kayleigh!” as his wife left the podium.
The report also said that Gilmartin was confronted by veteran New York Times photographer Doug Mills who “politely pointed out” to McEnany’s mask-less spouse that face coverings were required in the White House press areas before Gilmartin walked out of the room with a staffer.
The report about Gilmartin yelling was later retracted after it emerged that a conservative podcaster was responsible for the incident, but by then the account had already been picked up by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the Washington Post and the Daily Mail.
Cooper’s “360” program apologised in a tweet after the anchor railed against the incident on air.
The Washington Post also ran with the story, claiming Gilmartin declined to wear a mask after being asked to by Mills, while the Daily Mail said McEnany’s husband got into a “confrontation” and “bickering match” with Mills.
Gilmartin denied the account and said he never spoke to the photographer and would have been happy to wear a mask if asked.
“During the entirety of the briefing, I was never asked to wear a mask by anyone,” Gilmartin told The Post on Thursday.
“When the briefing concluded, a New York Times photographer loudly said to wear a mask next time after I had passed him and when I was a few steps from exiting the room,” he went on.
“There were no words spoken by me in response to his statement. If the photographer had asked me to wear a mask during the two times he passed me during the briefing, I would have happily obliged.”
Several reporters in the room corroborated the account and said there was no confrontation between Mills and Gilmartin.
White House assistant press secretary Harrison Fields, who accompanied Gilmartin into the briefing room, also told The Post that there was no request they wear masks.
“The sensationalist reporting of a verbal altercation is sensationalism and nothing more,” he said.
“This non-story is riddled with inaccuracies and distortions, which unfortunately is par for the course for activist journalists.”
The virus has infected dozens of associates of President Trump and West Wing employees, including McEnany, who only suffered a mild case of the disease. The president, First Lady Melania and their son, Barron, also contracted he virus.
This week, several more West Wing reporters were also confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus which continues to rage across the country.
McEnany and Gilmartin married in 2017, when he was still with the Mets. They have a baby daughter.
This story originally appeared in the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission.

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