Video Of Sean Spicer Being Heckled At A Book Signing In NYC Shows That Things Got Rowdy
It's hard out there for a former White House press secretary. On Wednesday, Sean Spicer got heckled while promoting his new book, The Briefing, at a Barnes & Noble in New York City. In a video of the incident, an audience member calls Spicer a "garbage person" and mocks him for failing to sell out all of the seats in the crowd. The heckler was promptly escorted out by security.
"Hey, Sean!," the unidentified man yells. "You're a real piece of garbage, and I hope you look around and you see all these empty seats, and you realize even in New York City, people will not come and pay money to hear you speak. I've read the reviews — it's a garbage book."
The relatively-sparse crowd doesn't react kindly, with one attendee ordering the heckler to "get the f*ck out, *sshole!" The video then shows security escorting the man out of the event, but he keeps shouting Spicer.
"It's a garbage book and you're a garbage person," the heckler shouts. "You lied as press secretary, now you're lying in your book. I've read the reviews. The Wall Street Journal called you a liar."
In his review for the Journal, Jonathan Karl wrote that the The Briefing "is much like [Spicer's] tenure as press secretary: short, littered with inaccuracies and offering up one consistent theme: Mr. Trump can do no wrong."
Over the course of his tenure as President Trump's press secretary, Spicer was widely criticized for making patently false statements. PolitiFact determined that Spicer told three "pants-on-fire" lies during his time behind the podium and made an additional four claims that were completely or mostly false. The New Yorker accused Spicer of "routinely lying from the White House lectern."
During his first day on the job, Spicer claimed that Trump drew "the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period," during his swearing in ceremony — less than a minute before adding, contradictorily, that "nobody had numbers" on how many people attended Trump's inauguration. PolitiFact called Spicer's claim a "pants-on-fire" lie easily disproven by photographic evidence. Of this incident, Spicer writes in his book that he was merely trying to be a "good soldier" for the president.
Spicer also faced heavy criticism for comparing Adolf Hitler favorably to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. During a press conference about the Syrian civil war, Spicer wrongly claimed that Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" and "was not using the gas on his own people." In fact, Hitler orchestrated the deadly gassing of over a million people during the Holocaust, many of whom were German citizens.
At various other points, Spicer incorrectly asserted that Trump won more electoral votes than any Republican since Ronald Reagan; that the Obama administration tapped a Fox News reporter's phone; that most of the prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay under George W. Bush were court-ordered; that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who's currently in prison for money laundering, played a "very limited role" in the campaign; and that a study exists proving that 14 million people voted illegally during the 2016 election.
In his review, Karl notes several factual inaccuracies in The Briefing as well, including the erroneous claim that Barack Obama was president in 1999. Vox lists several more significant falsehoods in Spicer's book, particularly regarding the circumstances surrounding Michael Flynn's firing as National Security Advisor.
Wednesday wasn't the first time Spicer was confronted during his publicity tour for spreading mistruths as press secretary. While interviewing him on Tuesday, BBC's Emily Maitlis told Spicer that he "led us down a dangerous path" and "corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies [about Trump's inaugural crowd]". Spicer replied that he "did not clearly do a very good job" that day, but didn't acknowledge having said anything untrue. He went on to blame the press for "constantly undermining" the president.
Speaking on The View Thursday, Meghan McCain said the heckling of Spicer is proof that "Republicans are not welcome" in New York.