Traditionally, the role of the press secretary has been to communicate the President’s message to the public via press briefings. The press secretary is the distributor of facts, able to break down complicated policies and clarify questions for the press to share with their readers and viewers. There is a synergy to the role – an understanding that the media and the press secretary should be on the same team in order to best disseminate the President’s agenda.
Sean Spicer disagrees. In Trump’s first 100 days in office, press secretary Sean Spicer has done his best to blow up notions of nicety and rapport with the media. Brash, aggressive, and often fodder for late night comedy shows, press secretary Sean Spicer is just as often the center of the news as he is the vessel for the Presidents’ message. He has become an unwitting celebrity in his own right. What other press secretary has a cool nickname – Spicey! – countless twitter memes and one of the most popular characters on SNL?
He is also prone to gaffes. Some are minor, like accidentally sending a distress signal by wearing his American flag pin upside down during a press briefing, or tweeting out his online password to world.
But others, like comparing the leader of Syria to Adolf Hitler, saying “even Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons,” (No, he gassed 6 million people instead?!) led to audible gasps from both sides of the aisle. And let’s not revisit the whole inauguration-crowd-size-thing, where Spicer declared that Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe.” When presented with mounting evidence to the contrary, he acknowledged that “sometimes we can disagree with the facts.” Cue more memes exploding in the twitterverse. #SpicerFacts
In the last 100 days, there have been many rallying cries that Spicer should resign and rumors that he would be fired. But as any PR pro will tell you, any action must be taken in the context of their audience. Unlike elected officials, who represent the people, Sean Spicer serves one man – President Trump. And Trump doesn’t fret over the accuracy of details, nor does he shy away from fighting with the media. In many ways, Spicer is the perfect guy to tackle what is unquestionably one of the hardest jobs in the administration: answering questions about what Trump’s words mean and what he will do next.
As Trump has said, Sean Spicer’s job is secure: ‘I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everybody tunes in.’Tags: Crisis Communications, public relations, Sean Spicer, Trump
This post was written by Rebecca Devine