Today at 1:30 p.m., White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will take the lectern at the White House briefing room, a much-anticipated moment in light of his performance Saturday. Over about six minutes, Spicer scolded Time magazine for propagating a falsehood about the removal of a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office (it remained in place) and proceeded to scold news outlets for allegedly misrepresenting the crowd size at Friday’s inauguration. Amid the scolding, Spicer spread a bunch of falsehoods/lies around the briefing room — about Trump’s allegedly largest inauguration crowd ever and other matters related to the attendance.
On CNN last night, longtime GOP strategist Alice Stewart said, “Sean Spicer has a long career in this role and he has a great relationship with the media. I don’t think one press conference is going to change that.”
It may, unless Spicer comes clean. Prospects for recovery would skyrocket if he shows up and reads the following statement:
Good afternoon, thanks for coming. Before we get into discussion of President Trump’s meeting today with business leaders and his plans for international trade, I’d like to address the controversy that arose following my statement here on Saturday afternoon. As I said — and we are very serious about this — we will hold the media accountable for bad and incorrect reporting that it disseminates to the American public. As you know, one of the president’s central planks during the campaign was that the media was tilted against him, and we have numerous examples to prove the point. That said, it’s improper for me, the press secretary, to report falsehoods, especially in the same breath that impugns media outlets for the same offenses. So I’d like to hereby offer a correction of my statements about the inauguration crowd size and other details about Friday’s event, just to start us fresh on the Trump administration’s first week in office. Now, let me take any questions you may have.
The Erik Wemple Blog hereby licenses Spicer to use this statement.
And we’ll fall out of our chair if he strikes a chord that lands in the neighborhood of contrition. A better bet is that Spicer will plow his way into this week’s presidential agenda — filled as it is with pressing business on the economy, Capitol Hill and international affairs — and deflect any questions about Saturday’s embarrassment. Look for some variation on the following dodge: The inauguration was last week and it is now history. We are interested in talking about the president’s upcoming initiatives.
Because giving an inch on media relations would mean backpedaling on this administration’s grand strategy. Saturday’s error-filled rant, after all, was less a mistake and more an extension and fulfillment of an effort to further isolate and discredit the people who will be tracking this administration’s every move.