White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned his post Friday after six months and one half day on the job, surviving almost weekly predictions of his imminent departure at the hands of one or another of the president’s aides and advisers.
The final indignity appeared to be Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director, news which became public shortly before. Spicer’s tenure was characterized by frequently testy and rarely enlightening exchanges with the media, memorably lampooned by Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live.” Here are a few moments that help explain why no mother ever dreamed her child might grow up to be a presidential press secretary:
January 21: A memorable first briefing
Spicer held his first press briefing the day after the inauguration. After calling journalists to the White House Saturday evening, Spicer berated them for reporting on photos released by the National Park Service which compared the crowed gathered on the National Mall to that for former President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. The turnout for Trump was visibly smaller. Spicer stormed the podium to claim, falsely, “That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”
January 21: Trump polices Spicer’s fashion
In the aftermath of that first press briefing, Trump’s criticism focused on his choice of suit — a gray pinstripe. According to Axios, Trump asked an aide, “Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?”
February 4: Melissa McCarthy impression
Two weeks into his job, Spicer was skewered with a “Saturday Night Live” parody. Melissa McCarthy, in a role she would reprise several times over the season, portrayed him as a vehement, gum-snapping ranter who chased down reporters with a weaponized podium. According to a Politico report, what most irked Trump about the send-up was the fact that Spicer was portrayed by a woman.
Ongoing: The tweets speak for themselves
Trump believes himself to be his own spokesperson, and he frequently acted that way on Twitter. Forced to answer from the podium for the president’s incessant, frequently belligerent or incomprehensible tweets, Spicer developed a handy catch phrase: “The tweet speaks for itself.”
May 9: Hiding in the bushes
Without a doubt, one of the most challenging aspects of Spicer’s job was acting as a mouthpiece for an unpredictable and impulsive boss. When Trump fired FBI director James Comey, shocking many on both sides of the aisle, Spicer relied on White House landscaping to avoid the press. A Washington Post report detailed how Spicer was “huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge” and “spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes.” (After originally writing that Spicer was “in,” rather than “among,” the bushes, the Post issued a correction to “more precisely describe … Spicer’s location.”)
May 24: Snubbed from papal meeting
Trump’s first trip abroad as president included a visit to the Vatican and an audience with Pope Francis. Spicer, a devout Catholic, was under the impression he would be one of the White House officials selected to accompany the president, but he was excluded from the meeting “at the last minute” in favor of other senior staff members, according to a CNN report. A source told CNN of the snub, “Wow. That’s all he wanted.”
June 20: “Sean got fatter.”
In June, as the White House press briefings became less frequent and were increasingly held off camera, a reporter at The Atlantic asked chief strategist Steve Bannon why cameras were banned in the briefing room. He responded, “Sean got fatter.”
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