Nobody would say that White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Sean Spicer has an easy job. But seriously, sometimes it's like he's purposefully making it more difficult for himself. Sean Spicer has a lot of embarrassing moments, running the gamut from "that's all right, man, it happens to all of us" type things to truly worrying behavior. Even before Melissa McCarthy brilliantly parodied Spicer on SNL, he had already cemented himself as the comedic face of the whole Trump administration. UPDATE: On Friday, Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary.
There have been more than a couple of statements to worry about buried in the middle of all that comedy. And that's where the true embarrassment is in all of Spicer's missteps and linguistic fumbles — just remember, this is the person who Trump feels is most qualified to act as the prime spokesman for his administration. Just as Trump has had some, let's say, growing pains in his first few months in office, Spicer has also run into some tight spots.
Spicer's job would be easier, of course, if he were speaking for an administration that was more tightly moored to reality. The fact is, though, that he's not. Every time he steps out in front of the White House press corps, there's a good chance he'll say something absurd — and here are the best examples of that.
1The Unfortunate Spinach Episode
No one likes to go out with visible food stuck in their teeth, which is why most people have friends they trust. Unfortunately for Spicer, the backstabbing apparently runs deep in the Trump White House, and he ended up on a stage more public than most of us will ever face, living out an actual nightmare. Spicer getting spinach stuck in his teeth is, at least, a situation we can all relate to.
2Wearing An Upside-Down Flag
The day Sean Spicer wore the US FLAG upside down I wanted so badly to correct it. Like this. 👇🏾👇🏾🤡🤡🤡 pic.twitter.com/iygSiJD0BI— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) March 30, 2017
Again, this could have happened to any of us — simply wearing a piece of jewelry upside down, putting on the wrong earring, anything. But when Sean Spicer puts an American flag pin upside down, the internet notices — and starts thinking that he's trying to send out a distress signal.
3Struggling To Say "Assad"
Sean Spicer keeps refering to "Bashar Al-Assad" as "Bassad Al-Ashar" or "Bissaa al-Ashar" lmfao the White House is full of imbeciles pic.twitter.com/BCzSI2381O— Jahan (@H00PINATI) April 11, 2017
You would think that if you're the White House Press Secretary and the White House has just bombed a country, you would have no trouble remembering the name of that country's leader. Not so for Sean Spicer, who keeps saying "Bisaa al-Ashar" — or something like that. Bashar al-Assad, Mr. Spicer. Say it with me now: Bashar al-Assad.
4Not Keeping Up With Nominees
Sure, there were a lot of nominees for various positions to keep track of — and there hopefully will be more, if Trump ever decides to fill out his government. But Spicer probably should have thought twice before he denied this particular report:
Those people would be wrong. Just spoke with him and he is 100% commited to being the next SECNAV pending Senate confirm. https://t.co/AfRZfQQCzG— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 18, 2017
The "next SECNAV", or in other words a nominee for Navy Secretary, did in fact withdraw shortly after Spicer made his overly confident statement. So — did he know the nominee was thinking of backing out and he lied? Or did he just not know and then act like he did? I'm not sure which would be better.
5The Whole Golfing Fiasco
Tweet from Sean Spicer from 2012. Trump has taken 12 golf holidays in 9 weeks pic.twitter.com/AF0k6WLmXN— Daniel (@DannyDutch) March 29, 2017
Okay, so it's not Spicer's fault that he has to defend Trump's golfing hypocrisy. But does he have to do it this badly? In defending how much golf Trump plays, Spicer said something about building diplomatic relations and then continued on with this gem: “On a couple of occasions he’s actually conducted meetings there, he’s had phone calls. Just because he heads there doesn’t mean that’s what’s happening.” Just because he heads to Mar-A-Lago, Spicer meant, doesn't mean that he's playing golf. And so what, instead he's conducting top secret meetings in public dining halls? Is that any better? Sorry, Spicer, but there was just nowhere to go but down in this case.
6Not Getting The Reality Of Betsy DeVos
When the Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, people on both sides of the aisle could agree that she was a fairly controversial nominee — but not Sean Spicer. His statement about DeVos' confirmation is so ridiculous that it almost veers into the realm of performance art:
Let's just break that down, shall we? "The Democrats' historic and partisan logjam" — the Democrats certainly weren't the first ones to that party. "The president's qualified nominee" — DeVos essentially had no qualifications, besides a history of spending money to try to affect education policy. "The unprecedented obstruction that Senate Democrats have engaged in" — something they did with the support of millions of Americans calling in and asking them to do just that. "The American people sent a strong message when they elected President Trump" — a minority of the American people elected President Trump, which doesn't exactly give him a strong mandate. "Democrats in the Senate should expect that voters will remember how they stood in the way" — yes, but I expect that Senate Democrats will benefit from that.
7Rudely Lecturing April Ryan
Spicer didn't like the question he thought he was getting from April Ryan, a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks, so he interrupted her and lied for a while — before telling her to stop shaking her head. The exchange is insane, and it doesn't come off great for Spicer. It did come out well for Ryan, who has been brought onto CNN as a political analyst.
8Blatantly Lying About Paul Manafort
Spicer explains how he should have been "more precise" when he lied about Manafort's "limited role" pic.twitter.com/g1wrb15tDV— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) March 22, 2017
Spicer said that Paul Manafort, once Donald Trump's campaign manager, had a "limited role" in the campaign. He was only the campaign manager, right? As Vanity Fair's Tina Nyugen put it, "even Stalin was more subtle when he airbrushed Nikolai Yezhov out of existence."
9Referring to Michael Flynn As A Volunteer
At the same press conference where he tried to brush off Trump's connection with Manafort, Spicer tried to give the same treatment to Michael Flynn by saying that Flynn had "been a volunteer of the campaign." Even if Flynn somehow wasn't making any money as a campaign advisor or in his position as national security advisor, it's at best highly misleading. The statement essentially puts Flynn on the same level as the guy selling the hats at the Trump rallies, which could not be farther from the truth.
10The Whole Inauguration Issue
Spicer did not start his tenure out on a high note, when he immediately came out and claimed that Trump's inauguration was the most watched in history, "both in-person and around the globe." Photos clearly show that the first part of that statement is untrue, but Spicer stuck by it, saying "Sometimes we can disagree with the facts." This led to the whole "alternative facts" episode, and by that time Spicer had made it clear that he didn't mind lying to the American people, even when the truth is obvious to anyone willing to look.
11Stumbling Over A Holocaust Comparison
Never thought I would say this, but Sean Spicer should go back to talking about crowd size at the inauguration. https://t.co/D2JZLuypiw— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 11, 2017
"Be careful about comparing stuff to the Holocaust" is a good rule of thumb for anyone who speaks or writes in public for a living — and Spicer has now learned it the hard way. In a misguided attempt to explain why Trump absolutely had to bomb Syria in response to Assad's chemical attack on his own people, Spicer claimed that Hitler didn't use chemical weapons. Then, when he attempted to clarify things, he pretty much just dug himself deeper into a hole, calling concentration camps "Holocaust centers" and saying that Hitler "was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing." That statement, while true, seems to draw a sick sort of moral comparison between the two leaders. Spicer has apologized for this particular misstep, but it's still absurd to think that it happened in the first place.
Towards the end of that list, it veers away from embarrassing Spicer himself and towards embarrassing the administration as a whole. But either way, I would venture a guess that no one sane thinks that Sean Spicer is doing his job well these days.