In Trumpworld, up is down, down is up and it’s difficult to keep the stories straight. Is a government shutdown bad or good? Who knows? Trump has said both emphatically. Basic questions are answered in Trumpspeak, a migraine-inducing stew of malapropisms, mistruths and good old-fashioned gobbledygook.
Which is why some more charitable folks often say they “feel sorry for” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who is often sent into battle (the daily press conference) without a single arrow in his quiver. Like I said, those are more charitable folks. Personally, I rather enjoy watching him squirm. He lumbers to the podium with the look of a man who is grimly anticipating hemorrhoid surgery. On his birthday. With a few dozen medical students and Melissa McCarthy on hand to watch.
Sweaty Spice is charged with conveying The Trump Message, whatever that means, every day to a room full of respected news reporters and Breitbart.
It’s a train wreck every single day because, for someone in his position, Sean Spicer is remarkably confrontational. Those SNL skits in which he berates the media aren’t far from reality. He hasn’t thrown a chair yet but you can tell that he really, really wants to.
At a recent press conference, Spicer showed up and abruptly left the room without taking questions, leaving the reporters to call after him to please come back. All at once, I recognized that particular pleading, wheedling tone. I used it on my daughter when she was a toddler. Sean Spicer needs to come back to the room and we’ll all give him a freezer pop. Well. It always worked for me.
Watching Spicer spin himself into an entire wool suit with hat and gloves to match during the House vote to repeal Obamacare, for instance, was a sight to behold. Jumpy as a hen on a hot griddle, he lashed out at reporters even when they asked the most basic questions in a tone so deliberately calm and soothing it was as though the room was full of hostage negotiators, not reporters. Nobody wants to set him off, this oddly antagonistic press secretary with the wild panicked eyes of a horse caught in a barbed wire fence.
During one exchange, I swear Spicer came thiiiiis close to saying “If you love Obamacare so much, why don’t you marry it?”
Look, Spicy, I get it. You used to be a harmless, decently regarded beltway flunkie and now you’re Gorilla-glued to a president who tells you to convince the American people that getting $15 billion for defense instead of the $54 billion he requested is better because, well, just because.
Dispatched to explain progress on the (as yet unfunded) border wall, Spicy launched a rambling description of bollard walls vs. levee walls vs. Pink Floyd’s The Wall… OK, I may have tuned him out somewhere in the middle.
The upshot was this: Mexico’s not paying a peso. Or, as Trump puts it: “We win again!”