— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 12, 2017
A few weeks before James B. Comey was fired, President Trump said he had confidence in his FBI director. Then he added a but. “We'll see what happens,” Trump told Fox Business Network. “You know, it's going to be interesting.”
Sean Spicer got a form of that treatment in a new Trump interview with Fox News's Jeanine Pirro. That's not to say he's going to get fired; it just sounds like Trump isn't exactly wedded to keeping him around.
Here's the exchange, which was released before the full interview airs Saturday night:
PIRRO: Is he your press secretary today and tomorrow?
TRUMP: Yeah, he is, sure.
PIRRO: Will he be tomorrow?
TRUMP: Well, he's doing a good job, but he gets beat up.
PIRRO: Will he be there tomorrow?
TRUMP: Well, he's been there from the beginning.
PIRRO: Is he in the, in the – what do they say -- is he in the woods?
TRUMP: He’s getting beat up. No, he just gets beat up by these people, and again you know they don’t show the 90 questions that they asked and answered properly. I’m saying if they’re off just a little bit, just a little bit, it’s the big story.
PIRRO: When will you make a decision as to whether or not you’re gonna keep having him?
TRUMP: And here’s the thing, the difference between me and another president. Another president, I won’t use names but another president doesn’t do what I’m doing. they really don’t.
The first answer seemed to be in response to “Is he your press secretary” rather than the “tomorrow” part. So Pirro asked again, twice. And twice, Trump didn't commit and deflected. Then she changed the question twice, and he deflected twice.
Spicer has been rumored to be on the ropes plenty of times before. In a Washington Post article a few weeks back, Trump said flatly that he wasn't firing Spicer and played up how his briefings were appointment television.
“I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings,” Trump told The Post. “Everyone tunes in.”
Spicer gave an account of Comey's firing Tuesday night that has since been contradicted in several ways — including by Trump himself. But Trump seemed to sympathize with Spicer in a tweet Friday morning, suggesting that it's difficult for his spokespeople to keep up with his pace. (He repeated this in the Pirro interview above.)
As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Spicer ended his briefing Friday by telling everyone, “I will see you Monday.”
Somewhat ominously for him, though, comedian and actress Melissa McCarthy is hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. Her portrayals of Spicer have reportedly rubbed Trump the wrong way, and she's clearly prepared to reprise the character.
Perhaps Trump wants to see what what's on his television Saturday night before committing to more of Spicer's brand of Must-See TV.