As Trump faces Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor looking into his alleged ties with Russia, he has a lot on his plate without worrying about Sean Spicer’s latest press blunder. Rumors have been floating around that Spicer’s daily press briefings may end or that Spicer may be fired as press secretary all together.
But will changing Sean Spicer’s role in the White House help Trump’s publicity problem?
Sean Spicer had a difficult first 100 days in the White House, mostly in the realm of keeping his words consistent with those of the president. For example, Spicer could not keep Trump’s remarks on the original travel ban straight, instead misconstruing the president’s words. He also told a very different story than Trump on Flynn’s resignation, and even downplayed the actions of Hitler in a press briefing on Syria. Spicer, who is in many ways the direct voice to the press, and thus to the people, is being increasingly perceived as a fool.
And Trump has noticed. In order to combat his problem communicating with the press, Trump has voiced one possible solution: to get rid of the daily press briefings that are so often causing the problems in the first place.
On May 12, the President tweeted, “As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” This tweet was made after multiple top advisors gave contrasting stories of why Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Rather than taking responsibility for the lack of consistency in his justifications, Trump once again said it was out of his hands.
This led to a more direct statement on ending press briefings later that day. In light of all the contradictory stories, Trump wanted to eliminate delivering messages to the press from Spicer’s list of responsibilities, and to instead, “have [press briefings] every two weeks” delivered by Trump himself.
Average citizens and reporters alike came out openly opposing this idea, citing how it would take away governmental transparency and stop accountability to the press. This further reaffirms the idea that Trump sees the majority of news organizations as “fake news” that are unworthy of receiving daily updates.
Another solution would be to get rid of Spicer altogether. If Trump sees Spicer as the main problem, he could exchange him for a presumably more competent mouthpiece. In fact, rumors floating around Washington support the idea that Spicer may currently be out.
But would either of these options really help anything? As the press is more actively looking for answers, they are not going to be satisfied by the ‘written report’ daily press briefings the president suggested nor by replacing Spicer with another Trump croney, even if he or she is slightly more well-spoken.
President Trump definitely has a publicity problem, but it’s going to take a lot more than firing Sean Spicer to fix that. The president’s favorability has dropped below 42 percent (the lowest in his presidency), he’s battling an angry ally, and now a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia is under scrutiny. And that’s just this week.
Sean Spicer’s ineptness is just one small part of the failing Trump administration; and patching one hole is not going to save Trump’s sinking ship.