The other day, I had to get blood drawn for lab work. Sitting in the parking lot, I called Philip Swicegood, the managing editor here at The Resurgent, to let him know what’s going on. I’ve been fighting a bit of sickness the last few weeks and after a visit to an infectious disease specialist, finally got a diagnosis and the right meds to fix me up. Enough about me, I’ll be right as rain in a few days.
Casually, Philip mentioned that I’m missing the White House press briefing. I replied it was a hard choice, but I would take being stuck with a needle and filling vials with blood over listening to poor Sean Spicer have to eat another steaming bowl of offal. That’s when it occurred to me, as the headline reads: What is it even like to be Spicer?
There’s a scene in “Star Trek: Into Darkness” where Kirk and Uhura are on a turbolift and he realizes she’s in a tiff with her beau Spock.
“Wait, are you guys…Are you guys fighting?”
“I’d rather not talk about it, sir.”
“Oh, my God! What is that even like?”
Oh, you are the public mouth of President Donald Trump? I think you see where this is going.
Day after day, Trump tweets, and Spicer has to defend it. Trump says the most outrageous things, and Spicer has to stand by it. Trump tells Time magazine “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m President and you’re not,” and Spicer has to read that and suffer.
Suffering is part of the job being the top press relations person in the most covered house in the world. But working for Trump has to take it to levels beyond–or as Dark Helmet said, “they’ve gone to plaid.” There’s nobody in Washington, D.C. I’d rather have a beer with than Sean Spicer. That might not be a bad idea–according to Wikipedia at least, Spicer’s wife Rebecca works for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Their fridge must be very well stocked.
Seriously, though. Spicer came up through the ranks of political spokesmanship, working for various congressmen, and NRCC and the NRC. He’s also been in the Naval Reserve as a PAO for coming up on 18 years and legitimately earned the rank of Commander (O-5). Can you imagine the ribbing he takes on whatever man-days when he has to wear the uniform and walk around the Pentagon?
His office wasn’t even unpacked on Jan. 21, so he threw on an ill-fitting jacket, walked into the White House briefing room and publicly sacrificed his virginity to a pointless screed on crowd size. There was no white wedding for Mr. Spicer that day.
Maybe this is all genius, and Spicer has switched roles from press liaison to disinformation officer. Maybe the things Trump says and tweets, that Spicer has to toe the line on, are brilliant deflections away from more important things the press would love to sabotage. That could be true, but either way, playing the fool when nobody in the room winks or nods has got to be taxing.
There is only so much humiliation a person can take, and only so many “alternative facts” someone with Spicer’s pedigree can swallow before it comes back up. So I have to wonder out loud, what drives the man? What keeps him getting up every day, going among the committee of vultures known as the White House press office, and feeding them carrion whilst partaking of it and proclaiming it delicious?
Does his office have padded walls, so on certain days when the man who lives alone in the White House residence tweets at 4 a.m., Spicer can freely punch them without fear of making holes in the fresh paint? Is there a fifth of Bourbon in his right hand bottom drawer with a double shot ready to pour at a moment’s notice? Does he walk the 60-odd steps over to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’s office, lie on the couch (the couch is there according to Steve Bannon, at least) and bare his very soul to his former boss at the RNC?
Does Spicer fish? What’s it even like to fish when you have to go back into the Piranha-infested water the next day? Does his blood pressure spike every time he checks Twitter?
What’s it like to read, day after day, all the palace intrigue CNN reports. It has to take a special person to read that the president hates you and regrets your existence every day and not let it bother you. Maybe Spicer and Trump pal around the White House bowling lanes (I’d say over a beer, but Trump doesn’t drink). Maybe they’re best buddies, but likely they’re not.
I would really love to have a beer with Spicer. I spent quite a bit of time in Rhode Island growing up as my sister and her family lived in Pawtucket, about 10 miles north of Spicer’s childhood home. He might import coffee milk to the White House, along with Awful Awfuls. He probably bowls duckpin.
How he became a Republican is a mystery to me, because I don’t know any from Rhode Island. I wasn’t aware any existed. I believe all the prison guards in R.I. jails come from Connecticut because there are so many Democrat politicians in jail and no Republicans to keep them in.
Maybe that’s really the story. A man who grew up in a state known for quirkiness, quahogs, failed coups (the Dorr Rebellion), and liberals had to experience incredible adversity as a conservative. That adversity could have prepared him for the daily shower of humiliation and eye rolls that is now his job.
Whatever drives the man, I must applaud that he’s made it two months, and has not broken. The Navy should recommend him to teach the SERE (survival, evasion, resistance and escape) course. Because if a POW can hold up under what Spicer faces every day, the enemy would let them go out of admiration.
It’s a good thing that Trump doesn’t consider POW’s to be heroes, or he’d have to fire Spicer. Not that it would hurt his career–ratings of Spicer’s press briefings give news networks that carry them a 10-point bump. That beats the soap operas. Spicer would a great career outside of politics. He could even play himself on SNL (he might be the only one with an actual sense of humor there).
One day, we’ll have to grab that beer, buddy. Make it a Narragansett.