I almost feel badly for this week’s award recipient, almost feel sorry for him. Note that I said ‘almost’. Yet I do not feel badly enough to give him a pass on this one, as I have been giving him passes for several months now and he just does not learn from his mistakes. Who, you ask? Why, none other than the White House Press Secretary, Mr. Sean Spicer, of course! And most of you know exactly why I could no longer leave him alone, but in case any have been living on a desert island for the past few days, I shall enlighten you.
On Tuesday (11 April 2017), at the daily White House press briefing, Spicer was asked about the U.S. response to Assad using chemical weapons in attacks in Syria last week. His response, which will surely go into the annals of history as one of the stupidest things ever said by a WH Press Secretary, was:
“I think a couple things. You, look — we didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
A bit later, after being reminded of the Holocaust in which Hitler and the Nazis gassed millions to death, Spicer attempted to clarify with …
“I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing. I mean, there was clearly, I understand your point. Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that. There was not, in the, he brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that. But I’m saying, in the way that Assad used them where he went into towns, dropped them down to innocent—into the middle of towns, it was brought, the use of it. I appreciate the clarification. That was not the intent.”
Sometimes, the more one says, the deeper he digs his grave.
So why do I almost feel sorry for Mr. Idiot Spicer? Because, quite simply, he is a lightweight who is out of his league. Possibly the worst decision he ever made in his life was to accept his current position. Think about it … yes, certainly there is a great deal of prestige associated with being the man out front, the liaison between the man sitting in the Oval Office and the press corps, and the job pays a living wage of $176,000 per year plus bennies. But some jobs just aren’t worth it. How would you like waking up every single morning, knowing that your job would require you to go in front of millions of people and tell whatever lies your boss wanted told that day. How would you like being forced to defend one of the most vile men on earth … every single day? I couldn’t do it … wouldn’t do it … there simply is not enough money. But the reason I stop short of full-fledged empathy for Spicer is that he made the choice to accept the position, and having previously worked on Trump’s campaign, he already knew what sort of person Trump is and should have anticipated what the job would entail, yet he accepted the position. And in the 82 days since the inauguration, he has willingly lied, covered lies with more lies, verbally abused and shut-down members of the press, and indulged in childish temper tantrums. So no, Sean, I do NOT feel sorry for you, and I find you most deserving of Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award!
But we all know that it takes more than just a single act of idiocy to qualify for this award, so let us look back over the past 82 days to see what else Sean has done to qualify.
- The very day after the inauguration and two days before he would give his first press conference, Spicer told his first lie and ignited his first controversy. He claimed, in support of Trump’s prior claim, that the inauguration had drawn the “largest audience to ever to witness an inauguration, period – both in person and around the globe.” This was not only a lie, but it was a whopper … the granddaddy of all lies … and the truth was verifiable! There were aerial photos, parking data, Metro ridership data, and more to prove that both of President Obama’s inaugurations were far better attended. Yet, Spicer accused the media of being the ones telling the lie and stood by his data-free claim.
- The next day, when confronted with hard data tht disputed his claim, Spicer said that, “sometimes we can disagree with the facts” … a ridiculous statement that then led an alumni of the idiot of the Week award, Kellyanne Conway, to coin the phrase “alternative facts”.
- Sean is not well-spoken, articulate, and often tumbles & fumbles his words (that’s how liars are), then gets annoyed and slings a slur or two at the press in attendance. In February, speaking about the reportedly tense phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Spicer referred to the Prime Minister as Trumble instead of Turnbull. Then later that month, he referred to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “Joe Trudeau”.
- When his boss (who, by the way, won an Idiot of the Year award in 2016 and is on target for another in 2017) claimed, falsely and without a shred of evidence, that President Obama had “wiretapped” him during the campaign, Spicer stood loyally behind him. When asked about the claim, Spicer said — with a straight face, mind you — that Trump used the term “wiretap” in quotes not because he’s terrible at grammar (and kinda stupid), but because he was using the specific term as a stand-in for a broader forms of surveillance. “The President used the word wiretaps in quotes to mean, broadly, surveillance and other activities.”
Then during a mid-March press conference, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks was attempting to ask a question:
“With all these investigations, questions of what is is, how does this administration try to revamp its image? Two and a half months in you got this Yates story today, you got other things going on, you got Russia, you got wiretapping…”
“No we don’t have that,” Spicer interrupted. “I’ve said it from the day that i got here until whatever, that there’s no connection. You’ve got Russia. If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that’s a Russian connection!”
Ryan tried to respond, he kept speaking over her, saying, “But every single person, well no, I appreciate your agenda here, but the reality is, no no no, hold on, at some point, report the facts.”
To his credit, Spicer did at least apologize for his Hitler faux pas, something that I cannot recall any other member of the Trump team doing since they overran the White House. He still remains Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week, however. I like the way Andrew Rosenthal, writing for the New York Times, put it: “Spicer twists the truth as frequently as regular people change their socks.”
By the way, in case you were wondering about the cover picture … that is Sean in the bunny suit with President George W. Bush back in 2008.
So, Mr. Sean Spicer, to honour you for all your lies, bumbling and abusive treatment of journalists, I hereby award you the highly coveted Idiot of the Week award. I imagine you will want to hang it in your office … your boss, by the way, has one very similar, as does another of your co-workers, Ms. Conway! Enjoy your award!