“ ‘House of Cards’?” someone asked.
“There’s no promo,” Spicer assured the journalists.
Spicer fixed the pin, thanked the media and moved on.
But that did not seem to be enough for the Internet, which did its thing, wondering aloud whether it was a faux pas or a real cry for help.
“Is Spicer’s upside down flag lapel pin a distress signal?” one person wrote on Twitter. (Actually, many people wrote some version of that.) “Blink twice if you need help, Sean.”
Indeed, according to the U.S. Code, “the flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”
It happens to the best of them, Sean.
In 2014, Twitter freaked out when President Obama wore a tan suit to a press briefing on Ukraine and the Islamic State.
Years earlier, Obama had told Vanity Fair, “You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
On Friday, after Spicer fixed his flag pin, he began the serious business of fielding serious questions from the press corps.
He was asked about U.S. military involvement in Syria, and about President Trump's claims that Obama ordered a wiretap at Trump Tower.
“Does the White House see support for the border wall weakening in Congress?” a reporter asked. (“No,” Spicer said, adding that Trump “intends to maintain” his campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.)
There were questions, too, about the federal budget, the economy and the latest jobs report.
“In the past the president has referred to particular job reports as phony or totally fiction; does the president believe that this jobs report was accurate and a fair way to measure the economy?”
“I talked to the president prior to this and he said, to quote him very clearly, 'They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now,'” Spicer said.