This is your regular reminder that White House press secretary Sean Spicer has a thankless job.
President Trump hung Spicer out to dry — again — in an interview that aired Tuesday on "Fox & Friends." Check out the way he answered this question from Steve Doocy:
DOOCY: A big story here in Washington, D.C., that Sean Spicer asked his communications team, "Okay, come on in, everybody. Put your phone right over there. We have a leaker here. We're going to have the White House lawyer look at your phones." How intent on — are you on finding who the leaker or leakers are in your administration, not just your communications team —
DOOCY: — but over at the State Department, maybe the intel community, everywhere?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, Sean Spicer is a fine human being. He's a fine person. I would have done it differently. I would have gone one-on-one with different people, and we don't have a major leak process here. We have a major leak process in government. But I would have handled it differently than Sean. But Sean handles it his way, and I'm okay with it.
Notice the friendly way that Doocy framed the question. He referenced a Politico report on Spicer's crackdown but didn't ask Trump to comment on the way Spicer handled it. Instead, he posed a general question about the president's commitment to ferreting out leakers.
Doocy let Trump off the hook. An unannounced phone check is obviously a controversial move, but the "Fox & Friends" host didn't press Trump to weigh in on it. Doocy gave Trump a chance to answer with some generic statement about the scourge of leaks.
And yet, Trump volunteered his belief that it would have been better to meet individually with communications aides than to surprise the whole group with an order to turn over their phones!
Yes, Trump began his response by saying that Spicer is a "fine human being." But that has never been the issue. The issue, since Inauguration Day, has been that Trump habitually criticizes the way Spicer does his job. Based on leaks (of course), we know that Trump would have preferred Kellyanne Conway in the role of White House press secretary. Trump has reportedly criticized Spicer's performance in the briefing room and even his wardrobe.
No wonder Spicer is sick of all the leaks.
So, what does Trump do? He goes on Fox News and serves up an unsolicited, on-the-record criticism of Spicer.
Even if Spicer succeeds in stopping leaks that make him look bad, he probably won't be able to do anything about his boss's views of him.