Even if you really don’t like him, you just can stop watching him. The White House press secretary is unlike anyone you’ve ever seen before. Sean Spicer is aggressive, antagonistic and flustered all at the same time. Under the spotlight of live TV, he is channeling his pugnacious master. Spicer’s daily briefings are a unique phenomenon.
The thickset 45-year-old begins with a genial pleasantry – “Hope everyone had a great weekend, seriously,” he said last Monday.
On Tuesday, Spicer expressed his frustration by saying: “If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection.” He also clashed with reporter April Ryan, admonishing her for shaking her head. This churlish comment earned Spicer rebukes from Hillary Clinton and several journalists.
On Friday he repeatedly berated reporters for focusing on Donald Trump’s alleged links to Russia rather than the president’s allegation that Barack Obama’s administration leaked classified information about him. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted: “This is the most SNL yet of these briefings” – a reference to TV comedy show Saturday Night Live, in which actor Melissa McCarthy parodies Spicer’s gum-chewing aggression with a motorized lectern that wreaks havoc.
On Friday he used the word “interesting” 10 times in an hour. A week earlier he lectured reporters over the healthcare bill, which collapsed within hours, by castigating them for being too negative. Another day he told them: “At some point, I would implore, urge, beg some of you to use some of your investigative skills.”
Spicer’s most trusty line, when covering for his unpredictable boss, is this: “The president’s tweets speak for themselves.”
In a bid to find a context within which they can understand Spicer journalists have to resort to fiction or go to his boss, because there is no precedent that would otherwise explain the phenomenon that is Sean Spicer. Previous press secretaries have shaded the truth or even lied, but it’s usually just been on one or two issues. Spicer is spewing misinformation on everything.
When obfuscating the truth his predecessors have been defensive, Spicer on the other hand is a soldier, and he’s on the attack.
Like everything else associated with Trump, including the president himself, watching Spicer is a form of entertainment. Some people hate-watch it, some people watch it with admiration, some people watch it in the way one might watch a train wreck in the presidency.
Journalist say that they can tell the difference in Spicer’s behavior on days when Trump is holding a meeting at the same time as the press conference. He’s much more relaxed knowing that his boss is not watching him.
Anyway, Spicer is certainly something no one among the living has ever seen in Washington before. Then again, the same could be said of Donald Trump.
Sign in with Facebook to comment:
Sign in with Facebook