Sean Spicer was treated so badly by Trump he had no choice but to go

Spicer did his best, but it was only a matter of time before he would be forced to resign

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 21 July 2017 18:43 BST
Scaramucci, Scaramucci, can apparently do the fandango
Scaramucci, Scaramucci, can apparently do the fandango (Getty)

Quite honestly, it was a job that no one in their right mind would have wanted. Speaking on behalf of Donald Trump – a man prone not only to constantly contradicting his own staff, but to contradicting himself – was a position that came with its very own special chalice brimming over with poison.

But power corrupts, and the proximity to power is enough to make someone wish to sip from that cup. And so it was, that in the summer of 2016 Sean Spicer left his position as Republican National Committee spokesman to work for Trump.

Spicer was never going to last long behind the podium of the White House briefing room. From the outset, it was clear Trump didn’t like him much.

He didn’t like a light grey suit he wore on one occasion (“Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?” Trump muttered), he didn’t think he defended him forcefully enough, and even though the relationship between the White House and media is at its lowest point in decades, Trump thought Spicer was too easy on reporters.

Trump would wonder aloud to guests and visitors to the White House whether or not he ought to replace his spokesman. And from the start, it was obvious that Trump was monitoring Spicer’s performances in real time.

Sometimes, reporters would watch as the hapless official would be handed a written note as he stood at the podium, and then suddenly forcefully return to a point or issue he had already addressed. It was assumed the note had only come from one person.

Spicer’s very first briefing was nothing less than a farce. Sent out two days after Trump’s inauguration, Spicer was obliged to read a prepared statement about the crowd sizes on the national mall, and make claims that were clearly false.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” he said.

Sean Spicer resigns: The White House Press Secretary's most memorable moments

He was wrong. The reporters knew it. Everyone knew it. He almost certainly knew it, since he refused to take questions about it.

Since then, it has all been pretty bad. Even Melania Trump reportedly whispered into her husband’s ear that that Spicer was not doing enough to promote his achievements and defend his record.

In truth, Spicer battled valiantly. He tried to defend Trump’s Muslim travel ban – insisting it was neither a ban, or anything that targeted Muslims. He tried to defend Trump as the allegations about possible links to Russia kept pouring in. He tried to defend Trump after the President suddenly fired his FBI Director.

All the while, Spicer endured the brickbats and insults. For months, he put up the the constant anonymous quotes from “White House officials” that he was bound for the door. How long was it, people asked, before the job was given to Sara Huckabee Sanders?

The practising Roman Catholic even sucked up Trump’s mean-spirited behaviour when he failed to include him in the group that was granted a special audience with the Pope.

One of the things that helped do in Spicer was the celebrity he found without looking for it, when Saturday Night Live decided to mock him and comedian Melissa McCarthy nailed him.

Spicer gamely tried to laugh it off, but his boss was not happy, reportedly because his spokesman was portrayed by a woman.

“Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” one donor told the Washington Post.

Spicer’s decision to stand down came after it was announced that Trump was set to appoint Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital, as the White House communications director. Trump was apparently attracted to the idea when he saw Scaramucci defending him vociferously on television.

Two years ago, Scaramucci, then a member of Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign, claimed Trump was anti-American and did not like the way he spoke about women. “He’s got a big mouth, You’re an inherited money dude from Queens County. Bring it, Donald,” he said.

Now, it appears the 53-year-old has forgotten about all of that, and is ready to saddle up for the man he once derided. Power, has once again had its way.

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