During a Monday afternoon interview on MSNBC, Sean Spicer said he’s well aware that he embarrassed himself and his family during his brief tenure at White House press secretary in Donald Trump’s administration.
“Did I make mistakes? Absolutely,” Spicer, who signed with the Worldwide Speakers Group and was named a visiting fellow at Harvard after his ignominious departure from the White House, said on the network. “I regret things that I did that brought embarrassment to myself and my family.”
That’s heavy! And, unfortunately, true! But before you start feeling too much sympathy for our dearly departed flack, Spicer went on to insist that Trump is actually a good and “forgiving” boss who waved off his many high-profile missteps:
The funny part is, in most of the clips that you played, when I screwed up and walked in and said, Mr. President, I need to tell you that...He’d say ‘I say it, I know what you meant, and I know you were trying.’ Most of the time he actually said, ‘Hey, I know you were trying really hard. We’ll get over this.’ That’s what made me actually get through a lot of it, was knowing that he actually was forgiving in a lot of my mistakes.
As with his earlier reference, it’s difficult to discern which shameful incident in particular Spicer had on his mind, since his time in the administration was a ceaseless parade of humiliation. Before his first official day of work, he hosted an embarrassing spectacle where he argued with reporters about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. He infamously coined the term “Holocaust centers,” explicitly suggested the Obama administration enlisted British intelligence officials spy on Trump’s 2016 campaign, regularly locked horns with one of the only veteran black women members of the press corps, and, of course, defended some of Trump’s absolute worst policies, like the Muslim ban.
Spicer has been on something of an apology tour since leaving the White House. He hammed it up with celebrities at the Emmy Awards and has once again become a staple on 24-hour cable news, heroically going so far earlier this month as to admit he “screwed up” some of the finer points of being press secretary. Calling himself an “embarrassment” may be further than he’s gone before, but as he tries to seamlessly slink back into the swamp from whence he came, it’s critical that we don’t allow the time spent in the White House to be downplayed as an ill-fated career move by another Beltway insider. Working for Trump should be a stain that follows you forever.