Even though the lines between politics and entertainment have been blurred from the beginning in the Trump administration, Sean Spicer twirling the frills on the sleeves of his neon, lime-green shirt on “Dancing With the Stars” has brought us to a collective new low.
It is not funny, it is not entertainment, and most importantly, it is not OK.
The reason most of us know Sean Spicer’s name is because he was one of the first real, tangible signs the public got of just how dysfunctional President Donald Trump’s White House was going to be. (Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of him on “Saturday Night Live” surely gets an honorable mention in that regard as well.)
“I was Donald Trump’s first White House press secretary,” Spicer says in his “DWTS” video introduction. “There’s no question my time in the White House was tumultuous.”
After this huge understatement, Spicer’s video cuts to a nausea-inducing montage of highlights from his time behind the White House podium before moving on to a clip of Spicer fawning over the tweet Trump sent congratulating him on his new gig.
“It’s nice to have the leader of the free world on your side when it comes to getting votes,” Spicer proudly says of his former boss’s endorsement on Twitter.
Spicer’s entire claim to fame (or infamy) comes from lying for a president who uses his office to lie, to side with dictators, to defend men who abuse women and work for him, to separate families, to stand up for white nationalism and much, much worse.
Spicer lied for a liar for a living.
During his time at the White House, Spicer was perhaps best known for lying and obfuscating repeatedly about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. He also defended Trump’s completely unfounded claim about there being a million fraudulent votes in the 2016 election, he lied about the nature of the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016, and he spent weeks covering for Trump’s ludicrous assertion about President Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.
And do we all not remember when Spicer defended Nazis by stating, in reference to Assad and the Syrian war that, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” To Spicer’s credit, he did apologize for that insanely offensive statement.
Yet today Spicer gets the chance to try to rehab, rebrand and relaunch a whole new image of himself. Why? Why, after everything Spicer did, does he get to play the bongos and salsa on national TV to the Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life?”
“This wasn’t part of the plan,” Spicer told The New Yorker about his “DWTS” gig. “Frankly, I’m just making money, trying to enjoy life.”
But it’s more than just making money and enjoying life.
Spicer is getting paid six figures, $125,000 to be exact, to appear on “DWTS,” and it’s not only a TV network and a show that are giving him a platform to redeem himself. Spicer is also a Harvard Kennedy Fellow, he has a book deal, and just this spring, I saw Spicer with my own eyes at an exclusive TV talent agency party, the night before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, schmoozing and mingling with some of the very same journalists and TV talking heads he regularly gaslit during his tenure.
Why do (white) guys like Sean Spicer seem to win even when they fail? Why do men who work and lie for the Trump administration always get to fail up?
Stephen A. Crockett Jr. from The Root says it well when he explains that “the fall for lying white men from the Trump administration is never really a fall” but just a series of poorly conducted interviews in which the former White House employee laughs about the lies he told (see Spicer) or sells himself as a Trump insider who understands the inner workings of Trump’s mind (see Anthony Scaramucci).
Crockett Jr. writes — and I couldn’t agree more — that America has “a way of forgiving mediocre white men who’ve made a career of being barely decent.” Instead of being publicly shamed for being a pariah who consistently lied to the American people from the White House podium, Spicer gets an opportunity to advertise his availability for a new job on national TV.
Even though Spicer initially rejected the idea of being on “DWTS” when he left the White House in 2017, and despite even the show’s host, Tom Bergeron, expressing his unhappiness with Spicer’s casting, we all now get to live without being able to unsee the former White House press secretary dancing to the Spice Girls.
“Thank you @GovMikeHuckabee,” Spicer tweeted in response to the former governor’s tweet praising his support of the dancing career of the man whose job Huckabee’s daughter eventually took over. “Clearly the judges aren’t going to be with me. Let’s send a message to #Hollywood that those of us who stand for #Christ won’t be discounted. May God bless you.”
Whether invoking Jesus to get votes on “DWTS” ends up working for Spicer or not, the public’s vote on giving this man a chance to redeem himself is already in. But there’s no saving a man like Sean Spicer, and there shouldn’t be. — (CNN)