OPINION | Sean Spicer was doomed from Day 1
© Getty Images

For Sean Spicer, the job of White House press secretary was over about 24 hours after it officially began.

As you may have heard, Spicer abruptly resigned Friday after President TrumpDonald TrumpFive reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Giving thanks for Thanksgiving itself Immigration provision in Democrats' reconciliation bill makes no sense MORE hired Anthony Scaramucci as his new communications director, The New York Times reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
Trump requested that Spicer stay on, but Spicer declined to do so and told the present that hiring Scaramucci was a major mistake, the New York Times reported.

 

The date was Saturday, Jan. 21, just one day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the nation's 45th president. Crowds were smaller the day before in D.C. to see Trump, the man who overcame almost impossible odds to win the White House, than those who came to see the nation's first black president get sworn in eight years prior.

More than a few media outlets focused on the crowd sizes in full compare and contrast mode. This clearly irked the new president and he sent out his 45-year-old press secretary to let the press know there was a new sheriff in town.  

The scene that pivotal day was almost surreal to those watching at home and especially to those in the James S. Brady briefing room.

"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration–period–both in person and around the globe," Spicer declared.

"Even the New York Times printed a photograph showing a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original Tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth in crowd, and intensity that existed," he said. "These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong."

Spicer didn't take any questions and left reporters in the room looking at each other almost in disbelief.

After the press criticized him for not taking questions, things only got worse, via (of all people) actress Melissa McCarthy.

After the comedian's debut as Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live soon after that fateful Jan. 21 declaration, here's what Vanity Fair wrote:

"Having fun with Spicer’s instantly caustic dynamic with the White House press corps, McCarthy channeled some of her more bombastic comedic characters in order to rip journalists to shreds from her bully pulpit. (She also literally bullies them with her pulpit.)," read the review by Joanna Robinson.

"McCarthy’s glorious, kinetic impression is just one more weapon in S.N.L.’s arsenal against the Trump administration — and with Alec Baldwin hosting next week, the next episode could consist entirely of sketches like this one," the review concluded.

"The SNL effect," as it has been called in years past going back to the decade Spicer was born, can be devastating.

Just ask Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign, who never actually said she could "see Russia" from her house.

That line belonged to comedian and SNL star Tina Fey, and helped launch her career to a whole other level. But despite it simply being the viral takeaway line from a skit, it resonates with most of the American public to the point it became real.

Question: How many people believed the,"I can see Russia from my house!" line leading up to the 2008 election?

Try 87 percent of those surveyed, per a Zogby poll in October of 2008, or nearly nine out of ten adults.  

And that's what happened to Spicer. McCarthy, despite not being a cast member, was continually invited back because the ratings were too good to pass up for both sides. The caricature only grew from there.

If Spicer never holds that "press conference" on Jan. 21, one that many speculate wasn't something he exactly volunteered to do but was sent out by the big boss instead, perhaps McCarthy's Spicer never comes to fruition. Perhaps Spicer escapes the dubious SNL effect.

It also didn't help that the president reportedly didn't like Spicer's choice of suits early on.

“Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?” Trump reportedly asked a senior aide.

The left-leaning GQ even ran a fact-check:

“Fact: Sean Spicer’s Suit Is Bad,” the headline read.

Spicer was also caught huddling with staff members near some bushes on the White House lawn one night when news was breaking. The story quickly became Spicer being "in the bushes" instead.

No matter. "SNL" did a skit that weekend of a scared Spicer looking into the White House from a set of bushes. The press secretary was a caricature of himself just four months into the job.

McCarthy aside, the president was reportedly never thrilled with Spicer as press secretary from the start. Trump had reportedly wanted a strong woman in the position via talk show host Laura Ingraham or Fox's Kimberly Guilfoyle. But Chief of Staff Reince Priebus wanted Spicer given their time together at the RNC.

On a "Fox & Friends" interview in late February, Trump said, "

In terms of messaging, I would give myself a C or a C plus ... In terms of achievement, I think I'd give myself an A.  Because I think I've done great things, but I don't think I have — I and my people, I don't think we've explained it well enough to the American public.”

Either way, what was likely the longest six months of his life comes to a stunning end exactly six months from that fateful Jan. 21 briefing to defend his boss on the trivial matter of crowd sizes.

If you're Sean Spicer and looking for that next revenue stream, a book is all but certain next. And a bestseller it will absolutely be.

In the meantime, Melissa McCarthy is undoubtedly the most disappointed person on the planet right about now.

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.


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