The book tour for Sean Spicer’s new error-ridden White House memoir The Briefing is off to a great start. He was called out by Megyn Kelly for lying on behalf of Trump, taken to task by the BBC for having “corrupted discourse for the entire world,” and confronted over alleged racism at a public book signing.
The only next logical step was to make his second appearance as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“Our next guest spent six excruciating months and one glorious day as White House press secretary for President Donald Trump,” Kimmel said in his introduction of Spicer, who was forced to follow the show’s first, more famous guest, Christian Slater. “You’re dressing like a pimp. What’s going on?” the host asked Spicer, right off the bat. “Is this Hollywood Sean Spicer we’re looking at right now?”
“When you wake up in the morning and you look at Twitter, does a feeling of great relief and calm wash you over you?” Kimmel asked.
Spicer said that it takes him a while each morning before he “gets to the tweets.” But when he does look at what the president has put out into the world in the early morning hours, Spicer said he doesn’t think about how he would try to spin it at all. Instead, he said he’s “moved on.”
“I think that part of what I pride myself on to some degree is that all of the people that I’ve worked for, the one quality I think all of them would agree on is that I’ve been a loyal person to them,” Spicer told Kimmel. “I don’t believe you can have a job like that, share with them your private counsel, then go out and talk about it.”
And his new book is indeed devoid of dirt on Trump. “That’s about me, that’s my life,” he said of the book, later admitting that he ran almost everything in it by the president and would have considered taking things out if Trump didn’t like them.
As Kimmel put it, “this is not a tell-all, it’s a tell-some book,” wondering if Spicer may have held some stuff back “just to make sure the president doesn’t have you rubbed out.”
Asked if Trump was the “best boss” he ever had, Spicer answered, “I’ve been honored to work for a lot of great people.” Instead, he called his wife the “best boss” he’d ever worked for. Spicer told Kimmel that Trump never made him cry and would neither confirm nor deny that Trump tweets from the toilet. After some prodding, Spicer admitted that the “truth” was ultimately more important to him than “loyalty” to the president.
“Did you always go out and maintain your credibility in the truth?” Kimmel asked directly.
“I think there were times I went out and expressed what the president believed or a view that he had that people didn’t agree with or they were saying that that was not true, and would blame me for the fact that I was communicating a view or a belief that he had,” Spicer said, convolutedly, agreeing with Kimmel that it was a case of “kill the messenger.”
Unfortunately, Kimmel did not press Spicer to make a distinction between Trump’s “beliefs” and concrete facts.
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And yet as diplomatic as Spicer was trying to be, the host did get him to admit that he more or less left the White House because he didn’t want to report to Anthony Scaramucci, who only ended up surviving in his role as communications director for 11 days. When Kimmel asked if that arrangement would have been “unacceptable,” Spicer replied, “Correct.”
Later, Kimmel pressed Spicer on what his mother thought of all the “abuse” he received from the media—and late-night comedians like him—during his time at the White House, as well as from Trump himself. “Did she ever say, go in there and tell that son of a bitch Trump to stop making you lie?” he asked.
“My mother would never speak like that,” Spicer replied. “She’d say, ‘I’m praying for you.’”
“I imagine there was a lot of praying going on during that time of your life,” Kimmel joked in response.