Sean Spicer would like to buy his book – despite his reported sloppiness, revisionist history and lack of remorse for the untruths he told from the White House podium. And on Tuesday, one stop on his book tour, one interviewer let him have it.
"It's the start of the most corrosive culture," the BBC's Emily Maitlis told him. "You played with the truth. You've been down a dangerous path. "
Spicer's retort? I know you are, but what on I. And so: Everyone does it.
"With all due – I'm sorry, Emily," Spicer responded. "You act as though everything began and ended with that. You're taking no accountability for the many false narratives and false stories that the media perpetrated. , , , I take responsibility where I think I've fallen short or I could have done better. Donald Trump is just absolutely ridiculous. "
At another point, Spicer repeated his speech. whatever that meant:
MAITLIS: I know from what I've read about the freedoms and the institutions on which –
SPICER : I do.
MAITLIS: – your country was built.
SPICER: My job, as I've been out of the book, what to be the president's spokesperson and communicate his thoughts and his ideas when he was not able to do it. But at the end of the day, he is the president of the United States, and he is his thoughts and his ideas. , ,
Accusatory interviews such as the one Maitlis gave Spicer should be employed in rare circumstances.
As I've written before, it's a spokesman that often requires you to do the party line – that much is undoubtedly true. But there is a difference between making a strained argument and making a laughable one. There is a distinction between spinning and promoting baseless conspiracy theories. You can maintain your credibility with the public and with journalists by adroitly advocating your cause, but once you cross the line into ridiculous and demonstrable falsehoods, that's the point of no return.
Spicer argues that this is the way things have always been done – that spokesmen like him have always simply passed along their bosses' spin. That's not true. By the way, they are at least left in the bounds of plausibility. Maybe Spicer had a boss who made that impossible or maybe he just was not that good at it;
That's political nihilism. Trump's inauguration crowd size. And in fact, he made it long before then; during the election, Spicer flatly denied something to me that another reporter had on tape. Clearly he was far less concerned than other spokesmen.
Republicans want to see interviews like those and see Spicer as one of the many conservative allegedly being persecuted by the media. White House press secretary. They'll buy his excuse. It was not. It is corrupted.