Has anyone taken more heat in his position than Sean Spicer? The butt of endless jokes and constant barrages of criticism, President Trump’s Press Secretary is looking a little tired around the eyes lately. And there’s good reason. For all the vitriol hurled at his boss, there seems to be plenty left over for Spicer. From social media threads to cable news to Saturday Night Live, has there been a Press Secretary in recent memory to get the treatment as often as Spicer?
Tough to recall them? And some are saying he has it coming. Others would remind them that it’s the job of the President’s Press Secretary to spin the events of the day. Wasn’t it Clinton’s Dee Dee Myers who called it “marshalling facts in service of an argument?”
Others, like Reagan’s Press Secretary Larry Speakes, believed his job to be, “minimizing the damage by surrounding bad facts with context and good facts…”
And then there’s George W. Bush’s Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who developed somewhat of a reputation for blunt pronouncements so brazen it caught reporters completely off guard. He could be so convincing in his delivery that even seasoned correspondents with the facts right at hand were confused, half-convinced they must have it wrong.
But Spicer’s critics are not calling him a spinmeister or a guru of doubletalk or any kind of half-kidding innuendo. They are flat out calling him a liar. Saying he’s trying to protect the President with outright falsehoods and blatant lies. This, they say, has destroyed his credibility … and it doesn’t appear, at least at this point, Spicer is weathering that well.
But don’t count him out. Spicer, you may recall, learned his craft as a Master’s student in strategic studies at the Naval War College. That’s right, he’s, literally, a master political strategist, focusing on the art of communication regarding national security. This guy knows what he’s doing.
Knowledge, though, has limits. As does credibility. Many White House correspondents are openly questioning Spicer’s credibility after he repeated “nonsense” that got Andrew Napolitano tossed off Fox News. This begs the question, once Spicer finishes his tour as President Trump’s spin doctor, where does he go from here? He has the credentials, and he has the experience, but if he spends the next few years getting called on literally everything he says, where will that leave his reputation. When you spin, you have to win, at least sometimes … right?