In the wake of his highly contested news conference over the weekend, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer offered some words of wisdom to the man who now holds the job: Sean Spicer.
“My advice to Sean today is if he used a statistic that is wrong, correct it today. There’s no harm done if you’re press secretary saying ‘I got a statistic wrong’ and walk it back,” Fleischer said in an interview on “CBS This Morning” on Monday.
Criticism was swift over Spicer’s words to the media Saturday in which he chastised the media for what he said were false reports of smaller crowd sizes at President Donald Trump’s inauguration compared to previous ones.
Thatt came before his first official press briefing which is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Spicer did not take questions from the media on Saturday after telling those gathered, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”
Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary to George W. Bush from 2001-2003, believes Spicer should be aware of his tone during these briefings.
“If you’re making a broader point about illegitimate press, make your broader point. But cool the confrontation down a notch or three,” Fleischer said.
Fleischer made a similar transition in speaking to voters on the campaign trail to speaking to the world from the White House.
“You have three phases, frankly,” he told CBS. “When you’re on a campaign, you’re first talking to your primary voters. Then you’re talking to the American voters. And then you’re talking to the world.”
“At the same token, though, you are speaking for the president. Your job as press secretary is to faithfully and fully reflect the president for better or worse.”