Sean Spicer is reportedly set to move out of the role of White House press secretary. It’s not a surprising development. It would allow him to do something he’s probably wanted to do since Saturday, Jan. 21:
Why is Saturday, Jan. 21 so notable?
Well, that was the day Spicer ceased to become the Sean Spicer many in the D.C. press world liked and respected personally. It was also the beginning of the end of his role as press secretary despite officially being on the job for less than 24 hours.
The scene that pivotal day was almost surreal to those watching at home and especially to those in the James S. Brady briefing room.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration–period–both in person and around the globe,” Spicer declared.
Spicer didn’t take any questions and left reporters in the room looking at each other almost in disbelief.
After the press criticized him for not taking questions, things only got worse, via (of all people) actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy.
After McCarthy’s debut as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live, Vanity Fair wrote, “Having fun with Spicer’s instantly caustic dynamic with the White House press corps, McCarthy channeled some of her more bombastic comedic characters in order to rip journalists to shreds from her bully pulpit. (She also literally bullies them with her pulpit.),” read the review by Joanna Robinson.
“The SNL effect” is a very real effect indeed. Just ask Sarah Palin in 2008, who never actually said she could “see Russia” from her house.
Just how many people believed the “I can see Russia from my house!” line leading up to the 2008 election?
And that’s what happened to Spicer. McCarthy, despite not being a cast member, was continually invited back because the ratings and virality were too good to pass up for both sides. The caricature only grew from there.
It also didn’t help that the president reportedly didn’t like Spicer’s choice of suits early on.
“Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?” Trump reportedly asked a senior aide.
“Fact: Sean Spicer’s Suit Is Bad.” – read the headline.
McCarthy aside, the president was reportedly never thrilled with Spicer as press secretary from the start. On a “Fox & Friends” interview in late February, Trump said, “ In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus … In terms of achievement, I think I’d give myself an A. Because I think I’ve done great things, but I don’t think I have — I and my people, I don’t think we’ve explained it well enough to the American public.”
Either way, what was likely the longest five months of his life comes to an end once a replacement is decided on.
Spicer receives what is being characterized as a promotion to serve as the administration’s communications chief. Translation: He’ll serve as Reince Priebus’s deputy chief of staff, just like the old days at the RNC.
For Sean Spicer, it was a learning experience that will end not with words at a podium, but a long exhale that goes with having one of the toughest white-collar jobs in the world …
… particularly under a president who prefers to communicate directly and often without warning his own staff.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.