It looks like at least one person will be saved by President Trump's mixed-up priorities: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. According to a nameless source quoted in a Washington Post report, Trump won't fire Spicer because he gets good ratings. "I’m not firing [him]," the president allegedly said during a working lunch in March. "That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in."
If true, Spicer finds himself in a much more favorable position than where he was during the Trump administration's earlier days. Spicer's first press conference — the one in which he lied about the size of the Inauguration Day crowd and lashed out at the media for its "shameful" coverage of the event's turnout — immediately turned him into the subject of viral memes and general ridicule on social media. Roughly two weeks later, Melissa McCarthy made millions laugh across America with her impersonation of Spicer as a hysterical, over-the-top, combative press secretary on Saturday Night Live.
The skit reportedly irritated Trump, not just because it made someone on his staff look ridiculous, but also because Spicer was portrayed by a woman. The high-profile derision of his press secretary allegedly led to a seething president regretting having given the job to a candidate he never favored in the first place.
"[Reince] Priebus vouched for Spicer and against Trump's instincts," a source told CNN, adding that the president "regrets it every day." Counselor Kellyanne Conway and former Trump campaign communications director Jason Miller both declined offers to fill the press secretary position before Spicer was hired.
Trump's obsession with appearances also reportedly lowered his estimation of Spicer. "Unfortunately for Spicer, Trump is obsessed with his press secretary's performance art," says an Axios report. "[Axios'] Jonathan Swan hears that Trump hasn't been impressed with how Spicer dresses, once asking an aide: 'Doesn't the guy own a dark suit?'"
Spicer made his biggest blunder earlier this month during a press conference while trying to defend the president's decision to retaliate against the Syrian regime after it reportedly ordered a chemical attack on civilians that resulted in more than 80 fatalities. "You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," Spicer said during the briefing. As he quickly attempted to backtrack after reporters reminded him that the Nazis murdered millions in gas chambers, Spicer fumbled his way through a game of semantics, arguing that Hitler brought people to "Holocaust centers," whereas Assad dropped chemical weapons "into the middle of towns."
In statement following the backlash, Spicer expressed remorse for having failed the president. "When you’re distracting from that message of accomplishment, and your job is to be the exact opposite, on a professional level it’s disappointing because I think I’ve let the president down," he said. "On both a personal level and a professional level, that will not go down as a very good day in my history."
Unless Trump's opinions have changed after his alleged comments in March, Spicer should be eternally grateful to television ratings for holding such an important place in his boss' heart.