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Sean Spicer lied for a liar. And then he wrote a book about it.

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 © Alex Brandon/AP Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer during a briefing at the White House.

By Richard Cohen, The Washington Post

It took a nanosecond to download Sean Spicer’s new book on my iPad and, believe me, that was more time than it was worth. “The Briefing” is entirely forgettable, but it does offer some insight into the mind of a mindless apparatchik. After Spicer is told by President Trump that his first briefing, asserting the historic hugeness of Trump’s inaugural crowd, was inadequate, the brand-new press secretary steeled himself and returned to the fray the next day. Then, in a Churchillian moment, he bravely reaffirmed — against all photographic evidence — that Trump’s crowd was the largest ever to watch an inauguration. He then rushed to find Trump, who gave him a bear hug and said, “That’s my Sean. Good job. Right way to do it.” There’s no mention of a doggie biscuit.

Of course, by then, Spicer had to know he was working for a pathological liar who obsesses on the trivial and the appearance of things. The administration’s claim on the crowd size would be followed by more than 3,250 of what the overworked Post Fact Checker calls “false or misleading claims.” No matter. Spicer went right out and bought three dark suits to replace the pallid one that, actually, suited him to a T. He was better off invisible.

[post_ads]It turns out self-abasement is Spicer’s one true talent. He had spent years climbing the Washington monkey bars, swinging from one job to another, ever higher and then higher until, somehow, he wound up in the White House — and then, almost as quickly, he was out and Anthony Scaramucci was in. And then 11 days later, Scaramucci was out, too.

All of these “outs” — and there were many in the administration’s first 18 months — were Spicer-like in nature. None of them were resignations over moral principles. Gary Cohn quit over policy differences. Michael Flynn was forced out for lying to Mike Pence. (Clearly, it’s all right to lie to the American people but not to the vice president.) But none left with a ringing statement of protest at the way Trump was debasing the office, abusing staff, lying and acting like an over-caffeinated Mussolini. It’s not even that many of them had a higher loyalty to Trump — is that even possible? — it was that they were besotted by power, by celebrity, by the White House itself. Spicer, for one, hadn’t even met Trump until joining the campaign.

Spicer, in fact, is the personification of how Washington has been taken over by the lawyer’s ethos. Lawyers talk a lot about ethics and not much about morality. For instance, they have a solemn ethical obligation to defend a murderer because guilt is for the jury to decide. Thus, the late defense attorney Richard “Racehorse” Haynes was celebrated for the acquittals of clients generally deemed guilty. For instance, after winning the acquittal of two cops accused of beating a black prisoner to death, he said, “I knew we had that case won when we seated the last bigot on the jury.” Nothing there about innocence.

Now it is the same with political operatives. They will work for anyone — issues don’t usually matter, and neither does competence. Not a single person bailed out of John McCain’s presidential campaign when the unfathomably ditzy Sarah Palin came on board. In foreign policy, she knew nothing and was determined to stay that way. Had McCain won, she’d have been a lot closer to the presidency than Alaska is to Russia.
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The swamp that Trump was going to drain has instead become more fetid. The people of Immigration and Customs Enforcement separated children from their parents without noticeably protesting the job. Their superiors throughout the government were similarly silent. When the administration barred CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from a White House media event because Trump didn’t like her tone at an earlier photo op, current White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the action. Collins was just doing her job. Sanders, though, was not doing hers. Trump doesn’t pay her; we do.

Spicer wrote of his priorities: “God, family, country, Navy, Republican Party, candidate,” whomever he was working for. But Trump was not a Republican until late in life, and he has never been a Republican when it comes to certain issues — free trade, to name one. Spicer enlisted anyway, always saluting, always backing up, always in fear of displeasing his mercurial boss.

“The Briefing” is a dismal book, dismally written and made all the more dismal by Spicer’s cluelessness. His is the voice of Trump’s own swamp. He lied for a liar.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Sean Spicer lied for a liar. And then he wrote a book about it.
Sean Spicer lied for a liar. And then he wrote a book about it.
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