Confusing, offensive, and downright strange incidents and statements often punctuated Sean Spicer’s six-month tenure as White House press secretary.
That ended abruptly on Friday, when he announced his resignation.
Spicer got off to a strong start just one day into Donald Trump’s presidency, when he accused the media of “deliberately false reporting” for not acknowledging that the previous day’s inauguration audience was the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period, both in person and around the globe.” He accused the National Park Service of altering records to misrepresent the crowd’s size, an allegation a later Interior Department report found to be unsubstantiated.
Then there was the time he referred to the prime minister of Canada as “Joe Trudeau” rather than by his name, Justin Trudeau.
In one of the most disturbing moments, on April 11, Spicer attempted to emphasize the brutality of Syrian President Bashar Assad, by saying Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” And then, in an attempt to clarify, he said: “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
Hitler killed millions, including over a hundred thousand German Jews and other Germans, in gas chambers. Spicer’s remarks led many, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to call for his firing.
Later that same day, Spicer touted Trump’s efforts to “destabilize” the Middle East and proved unable to pronounce Assad’s name, a problem he encountered at other times as well.
In an earlier baffling Holocaust-related moment on Jan. 30, Spicer defended Trump’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day remarks that failed to mention Jews or anti-Semitism. Spicer called critics who pointed that fact out “pathetic”.
While attempting to list terrorist attacks in the U.S. to justify Trump’s travel ban, Spicer mentioned Atlanta on three separate occasions in February, despite the fact that the Georgia capital hasn’t seen a terrorist attack since Eric Rudolph’s bombings at the summer Olympics and a lesbian club in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
Earlier this week, Spicer was seen photographing Trump as he sat in a fire truck’s driver seat, framed perfectly in the sideview mirror.
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 17, 2017
After Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on May 9, Spicer hid in the White House bushes until he was assured he wouldn’t be filmed answering questions about the controversial decision.
On March 10, Spicer began a press briefing wearing an upside-down flag pin on his suit’s lapel. An upside-down American flag is typically utilized as a distress signal.