A controversial figure from President Trump’s administration is coming to Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.
Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary best known for his contentious relationship with the press, will sign copies of his book, “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President,” on Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Lake Sumter Landing.
Spicer is on record as saying he hopes his book “sets the record straight” about the 2016 election and his tumultuous time serving in Trump’s administration. The 46-year-old, who was succeeded by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, often has been critical of the media’s coverage of Trump’s campaign and presidential victory, which really led him to write the book, he told Fox News political commentator Sean Hannity in an interview this past December.
“I looked back at the coverage of the campaign, the transition and the first six, seven months of this White House, and realized the stories that are being told are not an accurate (representation) of what President Trump went through to get the nomination, to transition to the White House and then his first six months in office,” Spicer said. “I’ve decided it’s incumbent upon me to set the record straight.”
Spicer began working for Trump in December 2016. He became press secretary on Jan. 20, 2017 when Trump was inaugurated and resigned on July 21, 2017 – exactly six months and one day after accepting the job. He left his post after citing displeasure over Trump’s decision to hire Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. The financier and entrepreneur lasted just 10 days before being fired by Trump.
After Spicer submitted his resignation, the president offered kind words about his former press secretary.
“I’m grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the American people,” Trump said. “I wish him success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities — just look at his great television ratings.”
Since leaving the White House, Spicer has spoken favorably of Trump, occasionally appearing on Fox News to offer his thoughts. He’s promised to be active in campaigning for Republican candidates this fall. And his book tour will keep him quite busy as he signs copies of “The Briefing” for fans across the country.
But Spicer’s short tenure was marked by some moments he probably wishes he could relive.
The day after Trump’s inauguration, he was highly critical of the press, suggesting that news outlets had purposely underestimated the size of the crowd at the event. He repeatedly made claims that the ceremony was the largest ever at such an event, which prompted Trump aide Kellyanne Conway to suggest that Spicer had used “alternative facts” when speaking of the inauguration’s attendance numbers.
More controversy followed in April when Spicer issued a statement about the chemical attack carried out by the Syrian government on the town of Khan Shaykhun. While claiming that Russia shouldn’t support the Syrian government, he said that in World War II,
“Someone as despicable as Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Amid public outcry over his remarks, which coincided with the Jewish holiday of Passover, Spicer apologized, saying he wasn’t attempting to deny that Hitler used poisonous gas during the Holocaust, but rather was trying to condemn Syria’s decision to drop bombs on heavily populated areas.
Spicer also has been lampooned on “Saturday Night Live,” with actress Melissa McCarthy portraying him numerous times as a combative spokesman who hates the press.
Spicer has taken the impersonations in stride, saying he finds McCarthy’s character funny, though he’s been quoted as saying she could “dial it back” a bit and “slow down on the gum chewing, way too many pieces in there,” referring to his well-known habit that’s been cited in many articles.
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Spicer served as communications director of the Republican National Committee from 2011 to 2017, the last two years as its chief political strategist. A graduate of the Naval War College and Connecticut College, he married Rebecca Claire Miller in 2004 and the couple has two children. The Spicers live in Alexandria, Va.