The Administration

Spicer’s credibility is gone – it’s time for him to resign


On this page on March 17 I wrote a piece titled “Spicer should resign as White House press secretary.” In light of recent events, I call again for Sean Spicer to resign as White House press secretary.  

President Trump should bring in a higher level senior adviser in the style of former White House Aide David Gergen who has credibility with the press and the stature to say “no” if pressured to say things that are false by White House higher-ups.

{mosads}The reason Spicer should leave as White House press secretary is that, for many months, he has obviously faced internal pressure to toe the Trump line, and has made a succession of statements that were factually incorrect to the extent that he lacks credibility with the press and the nation.


Let’s consider Spicer’s horrendous gaffe where he said that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons as Syria’s barbaric dictator, Bashar Assad, is now in the dock of world opinion for doing.

Obviously what Spicer said was horribly wrong, with the crimes of the Holocaust the worst in the history of humanity. Obviously, it made a horrible matter worse that Spicer spoke his words on the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Sean Spicer has now apologized in the strongest possible terms with a sincerity that I believe is real. There is no suggestion from his career and throughout his life that Spicer is anti-Semitic. What he said was dumb.

The most accurately descriptive word that comes to mind is “thoughtless.” Spicer certainly knows about the horrendous evil of the Holocaust and, had he thought about it more, he would never have made the obviously disastrous statement he made.

The problem with being Trump’s White House press secretary is that the president regularly makes charges and accusations that are false. His press secretary is expected to back him up no matter how true or false the charge or accusation. If the press secretary fails to do this, it is widely assumed that the political equivalent of capital punishment will soon follow.

What President Donald Trump needs in particular is a person of stature and credibility, who has earned a high degree of trust and who has the clout to privately tell the president and others in the White House, if necessary: “I will not say this. And you should not either.” If this is not accepted, the principal voice of the president to the media and the public should resign. Sean Spicer cannot do this.  If he is replaced his successor must.

This was the reason I wrote on March 17 that Spicer should resign. With American warships cruising toward Korea, with American missiles recently landing in Syria and with world tensions on the rise, it is more necessary than ever that the public voice of the president to the media and the nation be credible, strong and trusted.

As bad as Spicer’s gaffe about the Holocaust was — and it was bad — it was an innocent but careless mistake. If this were the only issue that plagued his performance I would not call for Spicer to be replaced, because I do believe he was sincere in his apology.

The problem with Spicer continuing in his current post, as I wrote in March, is that he has no credibility left outside the circle of hardcore Trump supporters. Trump desperately needs a public voice with stature, credibility and clout to the nation and world as a whole.  

This will require a long and overdue discussion between whoever addresses the media on behalf of the president, and the president who needs to change his ways or face the consequences.


Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He is a longtime regular columnist for The Hill and can be contacted at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Tags Assad Chemical warfare Donald Trump Holocaust Politics of the United States Sean Spicer Syria
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