The White House’s sweet prince is now hiding “among the bushes” in the sky. After months of rumors, The New York Times reported Friday afternoon that Sean Spicer has officially resigned as White House press secretary. According to Times senior correspondent Glenn Thrush, Spicer “vehemently” objected to Trump appointing Wall Street veteran Anthony Scaramucci as the administration’s communications director. Many thought Spicer would take the role himself, making fewer and fewer appearances in daily briefings.
Spicer’s tenure as press secretary was defined solely by his ludicrous inability to do anything the job requires: communicate clearly, maintain composure under pressure, or stay out of fights with the Anne Frank Center.
As impeccably dressed as a large sponge wearing human skin then shoved into a suit, Spicer was primarily known for creating PR cataclysms large enough to distract from the endless churn of weekly Trump scandals. It was only one week into Trumps’s term that he seemingly tweeted out his Twitter recovery code. And who could forget the infamous “Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons” and “Holocaust centers” snafu? Or the press secretary hiding from reporters as if he hadn’t developed object permanence and assumed the press couldn’t see him because he closed his eyes and couldn’t see them? Or his half hearted accusations of fake news, backed up by nothing but Trump fealty?
In all this, it’s key to remember one thing: don’t feel sorry for Sean Spicer. He was ill-suited and unqualified for the role and often lambasted by his own allies, but he also abetted the largest assault on the free press in decades. He called journalists liars in response to solid reporting, refused his duty to correct the record when he was called out on his own lies, and deliberately sowed the kind of media distrust that valorizes ignorance, making it easier for the powerful to exploit the weak.
Worse yet, we’re now stuck with deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. If Spicer is a weirdly sympathetic man-child, Sanders is a committed and unrelenting lunch lady, her complaints of media “narratives” and “fake news” all the more believable because she doesn’t come across like three toddlers in a suit. The future of the American press looks exceedingly bleak.
So good night and good luck, Sean Michael Spicer. You were occasionally likable, but never believable. At least we’ll always have the memes.