Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt sharply criticized Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price Friday, three days after a reporter was arrested for repeatedly asking Price a question.
Dan Heyman, a reporter for Public News Service, was arrested in West Virginia’s capitol building Tuesday after he shouted questions at Price about the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Heyman was arrested and charged with “willful disruption of government processes,” a misdemeanor.
On his show, Hewitt laid into Price over Heyman’s arrest.
“I have to start with what happened to a member of my tribe, Dan Heyman, in West Virginia this week. He was arrested and handcuffed as he was pursuing you and Kellyanne Conway,” Hewitt said. “Do you think the charges should be dropped against Mr. Heyman?”
Price said the matter was for police to decide, but Hewitt wasn’t satisfied.
“What, was he being really over the top? Was he physically menacing?” Hewitt asked. “I know we can be jerks, and I know we can yell, et cetera, but we shouldn’t be arrested even when we are totally off the charts screaming at people,” he continued.
“Arresting a journalist is not something we do in the United States. That’s what I would hope you would consider that.”
Price insisted that the West Virginia police who arrested Heyman had done a “stellar job” on Tuesday and complained that Heyman had approached him in a hallway, rather than in a press conference.
“This wasn’t in the press conference, you know, Hugh,” Price said. “This was — this gentleman was not in the press conference.”
Hewitt told Price he hoped the secretary would “give a nudge” to police to drop the charge against Heyman.
Hewitt ended the interview with the last word:
“And I hope you’ll go back and consider calling our friends in West Virginia and telling them the person, drop the charges. I have to speak for the tribe, Mr. Secretary. I have to speak for the tribe.
Price: “Well, I appreciate that, but that’s not my call.”
Hewitt: “OK, you can advise. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.”
Heyman was released Tuesday afternoon on $5,000 bond.