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sean spicer

Goodnight Sweet Prince

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has resigned. Say goodbye to a legend.

by Eve Peyser
Jul 21 2017, 7:57pm

Image by author via Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sean Spicer was the perfect press secretary for the debut of Donald Trump's White House. Much like his boss, he was astoundingly inarticulate, deeply incompetent, and reliably dishonest. The number of gaffes he made at the podium—in this golden era of occasionally televised and always live-tweeted White House pressers—would have been astounding and likely grounds for immediate firing any other chief executive.

But on Friday, Spicer resigned after the president offered FOX News contributor and Wall Street guy Anthony Scaramucci the job of communications director. According to the New York Times, "the president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange."

He will continue in his role through August.

Spicer managed to distinguish himself among the ragtag horde of possible sociopaths and alleged criminals hanging out at the White House these days. Among other highlights, he claimed to journalists that Trump's inauguration crowd was bigger than Obama's, which was patently false. He called concentration camps "Holocaust centers" while digging himself into a weird hole in what ended up looking like a bizarre denial that Hitler used chemical weapons. He insisted Trump's immigration order targeting Muslims wasn't a ban after both Spicer and the president identified it as one. He even evaded reporters by hanging out "among" the bushes (just don't say he hid there!).

Thanks in no small part to the seemingly unstoppable reach of social media platforms like Twitter, Spicer endured more national scrutiny than your average press secretary. (Bet you five-bucks can't name even one of Obama's.) Along the way, he emerged as an excellent punching bag for snarky bloggers and shows like Saturday Night Live. He was so bad at his job in that he made both the administration and himself look like buffoons, but he was good for America in that he made both the administration and himself look like buffoons.

But even as he was hostile to the press on camera, Spicer seemed to have a relatively friendly relationship with some reporters behind the scenes. "He's a thoroughly decent person. We've had our strong disagreements but he's one of the good guys in politics," Axios's Jonathan Swan wrote on Twitter. "We're going to miss Sean Spicer," tweeted POLITICO magazine editor-in-chief Blake Hounshell.

Other reporters, however, had less cozy experiences:

In a rare on-camera press briefing on Friday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will assume the position of press secretary under Scaramucci, read a statement from Trump on Spicer's departure:

I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings.

Spicer has already lined up an interview with Sean Hannity, accompanied by White House chief-of-staff Reince Priebus, for Friday evening. Which is to say he may well continue to rack up views—and make an ass of himself—for the foreseeable future.

Follow Eve Peyser on Twitter.

Correction 7/21, 4:20PM: A previous version of this article indicated that Sean Spicer would appear on Hannity tonight with Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci will be not be appearing on the program tonight. We regret the error.