Sean Spicer, who for months delighted audiences as the bumbling comic foil of Donald Trump’s White House, resigned today, according to the Associated Press, a decision that comes as a disappointment to all who have appreciated the way his bungling antics animated the bureaucratic banality of evil. According to reports, Spicer “vehemently disagreed” with the appointment of Wall Street financier and Queen lyric Anthony Scaramucci to be White House communications director, with The New York Times saying Spicer told Trump it was a “major mistake.” Given that this particular blunder finally threatened Spicer personally, it was the one he decided he could no longer defend. Thus ends one of the shortest reigns of a White House Press Secretary in history, though the laughter will last a lifetime.
Yes, from the moment he first emerged in an ill-fitting suit to yell at reporters about crowd sizes, to that time he kind of, sort of defended Hitler, to his war with little ice-cream balls, to the revelation that he was the Easter Bunny, to his hiding from reporters in the bushes, Spicer’s tenure has been a constant source of ameliorating amusement in dark times, sort of like that movie where Jerry Lewis played a clown entertaining children in the Holocaust that wasn’t as bad as Syria—look, you know what I mean.
Sure, it wasn’t all fun and shirking of the basic responsibilities of his job: Spicer was also the increasingly wan public face of the Trump administration, a wall constructed of sloppy deflection and cinnamon gum responsible for articulating the garbled messages of men who hated him. Spicer was repeatedly called upon to offer defenses for the indefensible, to repeat debunked lies and concoct clearly asinine explanations for Trump’s Twitter typos, for God’s sake, and the internal conflicts felt in his roiling, gum-filled stomach often caused him to mispronounce and even invent words, as his tongue valiantly tried to commit suicide. Worse, he was usually immediately contradicted and undermined by the president anyway, as well as insulted by his own coworkers, like when Stephen Bannon called him “fat” from the conscience-free vodka hollows of his own body.
It was a shitty position, and Spicer acquitted himself terribly, but there was a pitiable quality to him that leavened the mood, even as he was participating in the total erosion of the free press by a megalomaniacal charlatan. There is no such flop-sweat humanity to his replacement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, for example, who evades questions as blithely as her brother strangles dogs. And there is certainly none to be found in Scaramucci, a hedge-fund huckster whose qualification for the job seems to be that Trump likes to watch him on TV. We will miss having Sean Spicer to kick around, at least until he inevitably lands at Fox News.
Also, no more Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live. Way to screw one more thing up on your way out the door, Spicey.