During his time behind the briefing room lectern, Sean Spicer showed signs of stress. He barked at reporters; he slipped up in a reference to Hitler; he stumbled here and there; he inspired a “Saturday Night Live” spoof.
Yet now, weeks after he left the White House and months after he stopped taking questions at briefings, Spicer appears to be unraveling. The evidence comes straight from the pages of Axios, whose reporter Mike Allen cited sources indicating that Spicer took massive amounts of notes during his time in Trump’s orbit — both during the election and as a White House official.
Wanting to know more, Allen checked in with Spicer. The outreach didn’t net much material on the former press secretary’s notes, though Spicer’s response was newsworthy nonetheless.
— Daniel Bentley (@DJBentley) September 21, 2017
Allen noted that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III had already alerted the White House that his team would be pursuing interviews with Spicer and other departed and current officials.
So, has Spicer lost it? Why can’t he just send Allen’s emails into spam, or just ignore his messages? Why share such obviously social-media-flammable material with a reporter?
Well, there’s a theory out there, as articulated by Jennifer Palmieri, a former Obama White House aide.
Mueller must've asked for his phone records. He's trying to establish that reporters contact him unsolicited in case he is accused of leaks. https://t.co/ON9Ckob0l3
— Jennifer Palmieri (@jmpalmieri) September 21, 2017
Only solicited emails from here on out! Palmieri’s theory has the ring of plausibility, though with Spicer you never really know. As press secretary, he showed flashes of genuine hostility toward reporters. So, Spicer is either acting with tremendous savvy or tremendous pique. Take your pick.
We’ve texted Spicer, unsolicited, about this situation. No legal threats just yet. As to whether Allen had been spamming him with emails and texts, the Axios reporter emailed us: “Before this exchange, I had texted Sean 4 times in 35 days, the first of which was in response to his: ‘Are you available to talk.'”