Sean Spicer’s rocky ride at Trump’s White House
Washington — From Day One, it was clear that Sean Spicer was in for a rocky ride as President Donald Trump’s press secretary.
His defense of Trump’s false claims about the size of the crowds at the inauguration. Spicer’s reference to a Nazi gas chamber as a “Holocaust center.”
The indignities were many, some tied to Trump’s behavior and demand for loyalty, some to Spicer’s own missteps.
Over and over, Spicer chose to comply, even when it meant loudly defending his boss’s questionable claims and enduring the mockery of actress Melissa McCarthy’s spoofs of him on “Saturday Night Live.” Presidential adviser Steve Bannon once referred to Spicer as fat in a text to a reporter.
Even Trump has acknowledged Spicer’s difficulties, telling Fox News Channel in May that his press secretary was doing a good job, “but he gets beat up.”
Notably, Trump left Spicer, a devout Catholic, off the guest list for a visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Six months in, Spicer announced his resignation on Friday. Here’s some moments in his eventful six months as White House press secretary:
■Spicer’s first press conference set out markers for how far he was willing to go to defend Trump when he embraced the new president’s false claim that his inaugural crowd stretched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.
“It looked like a million, million and a half people,” Trump had said at the CIA during his first full day in office.
That wasn’t true, but Spicer went one better.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe,” he declared.
There was no evidence to support that claim. Spicer left the podium without taking questions.
■McCarthy — outfitted and made up to look like a middle-aged man in a Spicerian suit — strode out to the “Saturday Night Live” version of the White House briefing room and hollered her way through a faux press conference.
“I know that myself and the press have gotten off to a rocky start,” she yelled at the pretend press corps. “When I say rocky start, I mean in the sense of ‘Rocky’ the movie because I came out here to punch you. In the face.”
■Spicer’s tussles with reporters were highlighted by an episode in March when he instructed a reporter to stop shaking her head.
He appeared annoyed that April Ryan, of American Urban Radio Networks, had asked what the Trump administration would do to revamp its image following reports of its ties to Russia.
“I appreciate your agenda here,” Spicer retorted. “At some point, report the facts.”
He said there had been no proven collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials over interference in last year’s election, quipping that “if the president put Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.”
Spicer said Ryan appeared “hell-bent” on projecting her own image of the White House.