“So the White House press secretary is getting to a point… where he’s just kind of useless.”
— CNN’s Jim Acosta, quoted by The Hill, complaining that Sean Spicer won’t answer questions on camera.
CNN: “For two days in a row, since returning from President Trump’s trip abroad, the White House press secretary has held uncharacteristically short press briefings in which he claimed not to know the answer to questions, outsourced questions to other officials or dismissed the premise of questions entirely.”
“Both briefings included less than 20 minutes for questions — far less than most prior briefings — and ended with Spicer abruptly exiting the room to the consternation of reporters.”
President Trump’s entourage at the Vatican “included his wife, his daughter, and an array of staffers—but not White House press secretary Sean Spicer, a devout Catholic who told reporters earlier this year that he gave up alcohol for Lent,” Politico reports.
“Both sides, according to a White House official, agreed to limit the number of staffers who attended. Two other senior communications aides from the White House were included: Hope Hicks, who like Melania and Ivanka Trump wore a black veil over her hair, and Dan Scavino, the White House director of social media and a longtime Trump loyalist.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer deflected questions about a tweet by President Trump in which Trump said former FBI Director James Comey should hope there are no “tapes” of their conversations, Market Watch reports.
Asked if Trump recorded the conversations and if there are recording devices in the Oval Office or residence, Spicer said: “The president has nothing further to add on that.”
The Washington Post notes that White House press secretary Sean Spicer would only answer questions about the firing of FBI Director James Comey in the dark:
After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the bushes behind these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so. Spicer then emerged.
“Just turn the lights off. Turn the lights off,” he ordered. “We’ll take care of this… Can you just turn that light off?”
Spicer got his wish and was soon standing in near darkness between two tall hedges, with more than a dozen reporters closely gathered around him. For 10 minutes, he responded to a flurry of questions, vacillating between light-hearted asides and clear frustration with getting the same questions over and over again.
Meanwhile, Deadline Hollywood reports that Melissa McCarthy is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend.
“You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
— White House press secretary Sean Spicer, quoted by ABC News, on Syria.
Spicer later tried to clarify the comment saying Hitler was “not using the gas on his own people in the same way that Assad is doing… He brought them into Holocaust centers.”
New Yorker: “President Trump, by most accounts, is rarely too busy to watch TV, especially when he is the topic. ‘Look at his daily schedule, and you’ll notice how few events are held between 1 and 2 p.m.,’ a radio correspondent told me. This is the hour during which Spicer almost always conducts his briefings…”
“Another correspondent pointed out how often press aides deliver notes to Spicer while he’s at the lectern, and how obediently Spicer seems to respond to the notes’ directives, cutting a response short or abruptly ending a briefing. The reigning theory is that the notes are transcribed messages from the President, watching live from elsewhere in the building.”
“After two flayings on Saturday Night Live, sustained mockings on late-night shows, and a series of televised confrontations with reporters, White House press secretary Sean Spicer is retreating from the harsh glare of the daily televised briefing,” Politico reports.
“The White House has not held a televised briefing in seven days… There is a concern in the White House that a combative briefing can take away from the administration’s attempt at orchestrated news, and the president prefers controlling the message himself.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer “is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures including phone checks for White House staffers overseen by White House attorneys,” Politico reports.
“The push to snuff out leaks to the press comes after a week in which President Trump expressed growing frustration with the media and the unauthorized sharing of information by individuals in his administration.”
“I think we have a respect for the press when it comes to the government. That is something you can’t ban an entity from. Conservative, liberal or otherwise, that’s what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.”
— White House press secretary Sean Spicer, quoted by the Washington Post, on December 16, 2016.
Spicer blocked several media outlets from a White House briefing today.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that if President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser wanted to remove chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council’s principals committee, the president would “take that under serious consideration,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Said Spicer: “The president has made clear to him he’s got full authority to structure the national security team the way he wants.”
CNN: “To a press corps frustrated with Spicer’s aggressive attacks on reporters and tenuous relationship with the facts, the press secretary’s imminent demise is a compelling narrative. But the most senior members of Trump’s staff say the rumors are wrong.”
“So where is the narrative coming from? Spicer declined to comment on the record for this article, but Bannon and Priebus dismissed the leaks about his fate as scuttlebutt from lower level staff… Many people sympathetic to Spicer in and out of the White House believe otherwise. Five of these sources think the person behind the leaks is Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s ever-visible White House counselor. Though they offer no hard evidence, they say Conway is trying to offload blame for administration setbacks on Spicer to prove she is the more effective public advocate and earn a lasting place in the President’s inner circle.”
Politico reports that the devastating “Saturday Night Live” caricature of White House press secretary Sean Spicer that aired over the weekend — “in which a belligerent Spicer was spoofed by a gum-chomping, super soaker-wielding Melissa McCarthy in drag — did not go over well internally at a White House in which looks matter.”
“More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering send-up by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job in which he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the ‘opposition party,’ and developing a functional relationship with the press.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended President Trump “for continuing to claim that millions of people voted illegally in the November election, despite numerous fact-checks and other studies that have debunked the theory,” Politico reports.
Said Spicer: “The president does believe that, he has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have presented to him.”
Huffington Post: “All of this creates a conundrum for the press. How are reporters supposed to cover someone who believes in demonstrable lies, least of all a president?”