Among the most visible officials in any administration is the Press Secretary. They face scathing questions from the elite reporters of the White House press corps. It's often a daily battle of words.
“Every administration spins, fights with the press and the bureaucracy, pushes its own agenda, and tries to evade intrusive oversight,” writes Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs, in the May/June edition. “But ordinary White Houses do not repeatedly lie, declare war on mainstream media institutions, pursue radical goals while disdaining professional input, and refuse to accept independent scrutiny.”
Just this morning, President Trump tweeted he would not be opposed to foregoing daily press briefings all together:
Viewers have become accustomed to Sean Spicer’s anxious-nervy-hyper personality. Melissa McCarthy’s portrayals of Spicer on "Saturday Night Live" are as popular as Alec Baldwin's Trump. Comedy aside, Spicer’s briefings are often daily news events for news broadcasters, political reporters and bloggers.
Spicer has been away on naval reserve duty this week, at the Pentagon. In his absence, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the principal deputy Press Secretary, handling press duties for the president. She has stuck to the White House script, refused to answer questions and spun the spin.
Sanders, daughter of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, was dropped into the deep end on Wednesday and Thursday as she faced endless questions about President Trump’s dismissal of former FBI director James Comey.
While some speculated this may be a tryout for Sanders, like Spicer, she has come under fire for inaccuracies.
The concerns have been raised by both liberals and conservatives, such as Bill Kristol, for the contradictions and apparent lies surrounding the timing of Comey's dismissal. A New York Times reporter challenged Sanders yesterday about the "many" FBI employees she claimed were happy about his departure.
Still, by Republican, pro-Trump, standards, she has done relatively well — multiple reports suggest President Trump is considering replacing Spicer with Sanders.
Sean Spicer is back at the podium today at 1p.m. for what many expect to be his most consequential briefing yet, as far as his job goes.