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Alas poor Spicer, we knew him well

July 23, 2017

I haven’t written about Donald Trump for a while because there’s only so much you can say about reality TV. But I can’t resist sharing a few thoughts about the great man’s communications team.

Sean Spicer, the man who probably doesn’t know the difference between Russia and Prussia, has resigned as the master narcissist’s Press Secretary. Not before time, many would argue. The job of making truth out of lies would have challenged someone of far greater mental dexterity – someone who is capable of dancing around reality as opposed to smashing through it like a runaway dump truck.

His successor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, doesn’t appear to be much more intelligent, but she’s more adept at stonewalling without the f**k you attitude that Spicer displayed in abundance. She also benefits from the lack of televised press briefings in recent weeks. When she defends the indefensible, she can do so in the knowledge that her words don’t provide fodder for mockery by the likes of Melissa McCarthy.

Sanders’ other advantage is that she seems to lack her predecessor’s titanic ego. Spicer would be well advised when planning his future career to work on his emotional intelligence. You could say the same about his boss, except that Trump is unlikely to have a future career, and his current emotional imbalance is probably beyond redemption.

The fact is that being a member of Trump’s communications team is an impossible job. The new director of communications – one Anthony Scaramucci, whose wonderful surname, incidentally, would not be out of place in one of Mozart’s comic operas – is unlikely to find that his new role will turn out to be a career-advancing move.

There’s a simple reason for this. The president doesn’t really want anyone to speak for him. I get the impression that he would be far happier giving the occasional rambling interview with the fake news media, and then lambasting them with his late-night tweets. If he has something big to say, he can always call his faithful to a rally, or deliver some set-piece rant at a G7 conference, or speak to the nation from the White House lawn.

Who needs people like Spicer, who don’t have the brains to keep up with him? I suspect that Trump secretly envies Kim Jong Un, who in all his public appearances is surrounded by officials who capture his every thought by slavishly scribbling away in the little notebooks that each of them carries. What’s more, they never fail to giggle at his jokes.

From the communicator’s point of view, how do you make a coherent narrative out of the shifting sands of the president’s reality? Best, surely, to stick to reporting his comings and goings rather than trying to interpret the oracle.

Anyway, the black comedy will no doubt continue, though I grieve for the sudden decline in Melissa McCarthy’s career prospects. When the dust has settled, Spicer will no doubt write the first memoir of the Trump era, which will enable him to present his version of the truth before those of the other courtiers who are still hanging on to their jobs. After the book, his trajectory will surely be downwards. He has had his fifteen minutes of fame.

As for this avid follower of the Trumpian madhouse, one moment of sublime comedy has changed my perception of the president’s utterances forever. After Andy Serkis’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show, I will never again be able to read a Trump tweet without filtering it through the voice of Gollum.

From → Media, Politics, USA

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