For most people, spending a few days in Europe would be an energizing, restorative experience. But for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, it was a brief (if unsatisfying) reprieve from a job that seems to be sapping his very will to live, leaving him with nothing but talking points and temper tantrums, both of which we saw on full display during his first briefing back on Tuesday.
When asked by a reporter for an example of “fake news”—one of Donald Trump’s favorite, enduring boogeymen (at least when he’s not the one dolling it out)—Spicer lashed out over a recent report spread on Twitter that Trump wasn’t using a translation earpiece during the Italian prime minister’s G7 summit address. That turned out not to be true; Trump was, in fact, wearing a small in-ear translation device. The dust-up appeared to begin with a tweet from a BBC reporter that was boosted by incoming New York Times reporter Shane Goldmacher, who later corrected the claim.
“That’s the kind of thing that the BBC and ultimately the reporter who’s now joining the New York Times push out and perpetuate with no apology,” Spicer told reporters.
After several journalists in the room pushed back on the notion that a single tweet (and subsequent retweet) really proved his point about the prevalence of mainstream outlets pushing “fake news,” Spicer retorted: “I was asked to give an example, and I did.” He later said he “didn’t come here with a list” when asked to provide another example.
Spicer was then pushed to address the longstanding rumors of a shake up in the White House communications department, to which he recycled some well-worn talking points before walking away from the lectern without actually answering the question.
Welcome back Sean—we missed you!