Do you know who Josh Earnest is? Or Tony Snow? Or Scott McClellan?
Unless you’re glued to C-Span, the names of former White House Press Secretaries never achieved the household notoriety of the incumbent Sean Spicer.
The second most visible member of the administration, after the president, is nearly always the White House press secretary. Yet they are like the Archangel Metatron, being the voice of the Lord and simultaneously invisible.
Put another way, Sean Spicer keeps breaking the number one rule of communications:
Do. Not. Become. The. Story.
On Tuesday, Spicer made headlines for a gaffe regarding the use of chemical weapons, in which he appeared to claim that Adolf Hitler 'never stooped' to using chemical weapons on 'his own people'.
People immediately thought of the Holocaust, where Hitler’s regime did in fact use chemical weapons against ‘his own people’.
Spicer retracted the remark at the briefing, and made a formal apology later.
Sadly, this isn't the first instance in which the voice of the President 'mispoke' and embarrassed the administration.
And we're not even 100 days in yet.
Day one on the job: When Spicer claimed Trump's crowd was larger than Obama's crowd, despite photographic evidence
The day after the inauguration, the new press secretary and communications director (the workload may explain the mistakes, he’s essentially doing CJ’s and Toby’s job all at once) was forced into a spat with the press over crowd size.
Spicer (appearing to speak against his better judgement) claimed that the crowd at Donald Trump’s inauguration was the 'yugest' ever.
This was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.
In the same briefing Spicer got up on a high horse and chastised the media for ‘inaccurate reporting’.
People looked at photos comparing the day to Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
Digging in his heels, Spicer cited figures from the Washington D.C transit authority that WMATA.
The WMATA then said Obama had higher figures in both 2009 and 2013. So really it was worse.
This was all day one.
Day two, the Women’s March happened, and because Spicer and Trump had made crowd size the barometer for success, the press were able to run stories implying that womanhood had just outshone the White House.
Day six: The time he tweeted his own password
The White House didn’t confirm what it was Spicer had tweeted and then deleted, but the series of characters bore similarities to password that had been mistakenly copied and pasted.
He did this more than once.
Day 18: That time he staked the claim that Donald Trump ‘doesn’t own a bathrobe’
Because this is what you should do when this is your job.
Deny that your boss owns a bathrobe.
Following a feature in the New York Times that painted a picture of a bumbling administration (one which for instance still wasn’t sure where all the light switches were), Spicer decided to zero in on the dressing gown.
I don't think the president owns a bathrobe. He definitely doesn’t wear one
Sorted. Done. Full lid. Sometimes you just have to be firm with the press, and kill a story before it grows into something monstrous.
Or becomes a meme.
Day 25: When he called Justin Trudeau, “Joe”
I mean we all make mistakes with people’s names, but this is Justin Trudeau. Do you really think that face is a “Joe”?
Indy100 has seen totally fake and made-up polling that suggests Trudeau would not be PM now if his name was “Joe,” and not the boyband perfection handle that is “Justin”
Around the same time Spicer also mispronounced the Australian prime minister's surname of Malcolm Turnbull as 'Trumball'.
Our same made-up polling shows Turnball would have been elected 15 years sooner if he was actually called Trumball.
Day 32: When he was asked about Islamophobia and ranted about ‘terrorists’ instead
Spicer was asked what the administration was doing about anti-Muslim sentiments.
He responded with some spiel about how bad terrorism is.
I think that the president in terms of his desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism...He understands that people want to express their peaceful position and have every right in our constitution but if you come here and want to express views that seek to do our country or our people harm he’s going to fight it aggressively whether it’s domestic acts that are going on here or attempts through people abroad to come into this country so there’s a big difference between preventing attacks and making sure that we keep this country safe so that there is no loss of life and allowing people to express themselves in accordance with the first amendment.
Those are two very very different…different things.
Day 36: When he banned the BBC
Having lost control of his club house, Spicer decided to play the old “Yeah well, I’ll start my own club, and it’ll be even better and you’re going to be sorry,” card.
The press secretary cherry picked some news organisations for another press briefing, excluding reporters from the New York Times, the BBC and others.
Day 41: The time he announced Donald Trump was going to be his own new Housing Secretary
The panic you feel when you text the person you were talking about knows no bounds. Your stomach fossilises there on the spot.
This is like that, but much, much worse.
The administration has been struggling to gets its nominees confirmed, so Spicer was probably eager to get out news that they’d confirmed another cabinet post.
So excited was he, that Spicer named Trump as the new secretary for Housing and Urband Development (HUD) and not Ben Carson.
The result was it made Trump sound like one of those el-Presidentes with fifteen titles.
His Tremendousness the President Donald J. Trump I, Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Bigly Defeater of CHIYNA, Master of all that Swims in the Sea and Crawls on the Earth, Conqueror of the Liberals in America and the Clintons in Particular.
Day 59: When he didn’t know what a campaign manager was
Among the other problems Spicer has to fight, is the growing cancer of the administration’s alleged ties with the Russian intelligence apparatus. The number of scandals which involve top Trump aides are steadily eating their way to the centre.
Spicer seems to have chosen day 59 on the job to attempt to contain the scandal and put a stop to it.
In March, Paul Manafort, who handled ‘delegate enforcement’ for the Trump campaign at the Republican Party 2016 Convention, was found to have received millions of dollars from an organisation backing the pro-Russian president of Ukraine.
After enforcing the delegates, Manafort served as the chairman and campaign manager of Trump 2016.
Spicer tried to claim he played a ‘very limited role’ in the campaign.
Day 64: That time he drew attention to his boss’ failure to disclose how little money he actually has
Donald Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns.
MSNBC trailed having them, but what they actually had were two pages from a standard 1040 form made in 2005.
It showed the president reported an income of $150 million and paid £38 million in income tax that year.
His failure to disclose the returns has fuelled rumours since he started running for office. Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton claimed it was because he hadn’t paid any.
Others thought it was because the president wasn’t actually as entrepreneurial as he claimed to be, had been haemorrhaging the millions of dollars he’d inherited and the tax returns would show that.
Spicer chose day 64 to commit a slip of the tongue, and draw attention to this bubbling scandal.
BIGGEST YUGEST MISTAKE -
Day -3225: When he stopped being the Easter Bunny. Sad!
Every year the White House demonstrates how much it loves the First Amendment to the US Constitution by hosting a Christian festival at the seat of executive power.
The Easter egg hunt is an annual event, where children hunt for Easter eggs, accompanied by the president, White House staff, and of course, the Easter Bunny.
Before he was press secretary, Spicer worked in the office of the US Trade Representative during the Bush II presidency. He was also the Easter Bunny on two occasions!
Spicer’s last cameo was in 2008, and in that year he gave an interview about his experience in the suit.
Kids love the Easter Bunny. There is something real special about seeing all the families on the White House lawn.
He seemed to like it. If only there were a way for Sean to go back.
N.B. For the record, Josh Earnest served as president Barack H. Obama’s second press secretary, and Tony Snow and Scott McClellan served president George W. Bush in the same capacity. Their lack of notoriety isn’t to suggest they were bad at their jobs, quite the reverse.