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The most humiliating moments of Sean Spicer’s inglorious reign as White House press secretary

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
He will be missed.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer is out. The New York Times reports that he “vehemently disagreed” with the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York hedge fund manager and not-so-longtime Trump supporter, as communications director.

Spicer’s short tenure was peppered with humiliations and gaffes—so while it was just six months long, it definitely left an impression. Here are some of the moments that will be remembered most fondly:

That time he said Trump’s inauguration crowd was the largest ever.

Spicer’s very first press conference set the tone. According to Spicer (and Trump) this year’s was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe.” It wasn’t.

To support his claim, Spicer said the photos were taken in a way that minimized the crowd, and previous inaugurations didn’t employ white glass covering, which made the crowd look smaller. None of that was true.

That time Trump didn’t like his style

“Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?” Trump reportedly asked of Spicer after seeing his first press conference. It might not be a coincidence that his decided to leave behind ill-fitting, light grey suits for fitted, darker ones.

That time he said Hitler didn’t gas his own people

Talking about the Bashar al-Assad’s sarin gas attack in April, Spicer compared it to Nazi crimes—although saying that this was worse because “Hitler didn’t even sink to the level of using chemical weapons.” Hitler gassed millions of people, so Spicer’s gaffe was followed by a series of clarifications which included calling concentration camps “Holocaust centers” and ultimately ended up worsening the already embarrassing situation.

That time he hid in the bushes

James Comey’s firing wasn’t an easy one to explain—and it took Spicer extra courage to do so. So, before he accepted to take press questions about it (in near darkness on the White House grounds), the White House staffer “spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes.”

That time Trump didn’t let him meet the Pope

As a devout Catholic, Spicer was reportedly very keen on meeting with Pope Francis during Trump’s visit in Rome. But Trump only let his family attend, leaving the press secretary behind. A source told CNN that meeting his holiness was “all he [Spicer] wanted.” Sad!

The time he said the president knows exactly what he meant with “covfefe”

“Despite the constant negative press covfefe,” tweeted Trump on May 31, as a puzzled nation watched. What exactly did he mean? Was it a spelling mistake? Was there no one to check the president’s tweet? The tweet was removed, but was online for hours.

Questioned on the strange message, Spicer reassured reporters that “the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.”

That time Steve Bannon fat-shamed him

Bannon shouldn’t be one to comment on other people’s weight, though he had no problems blaming Spicer’s shape for his being replaced by Sarah Huckabee in the public press briefings. “Sean got fatter,” Bannon texted The Atlantic’s Rosie Gray when asked why he was missing from the briefing.

No one in the administration stood up for poor Spicer, though Chelsea Clinton did:

All the times he said the “tweet speaks for itself”

Spicer and other Trump spokespeople quickly came up with this key phrase, after being asked repeatedly to explain the president’s sometimes perplexing Twitter musings.

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