Sean Spicer jokes about Melissa McCarthy impression of him during press briefing

Rachel Roberts

Donald Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer surprised reporters by making a joke about comedian Melissa McCarthy's impression of him on NBC show Saturday Night Live.

The White House Press Secretary, responding to a question from the press pack that he appeared to consider trivial, quipped: “Don’t make me make this podium move”, a reference to the routine in which Ms McCarthy lampoons his famously combative style.

The underlying premise of the impression is that Mr Spicer often reacts angrily to questions he does not like, and his uncharacteristic good humour had reporters laughing.

Mr Spicer made the joke when he was asked why he and the President had tweeted about employment figures within half an hour of the latest figures being released in violation of federal rules.

Suggesting reporters had trivialised their reporting, Mr Spicer said: “What I understand is that rule was instituted to deal with market fluctuations. I could be wrong, but I believe that's why it was instituted.

"I think tweeting out 'great way to start a Friday, here are the actual numbers that you all have reported' is a bit silly. I mean, don't make me make the podium move.”

Melissa MCarthy's impression of Sean Spicer

Mr Spicer has not enjoyed the easiest relationship with reporters since he became Mr Trump’s official mouthpiece, adopting a combative style towards journalists which mirrors that of the President.

Ms McCarthy, an actress and comedian who starred in the film Bridesmaids, performed her latest eight-minute spoof of a Spicer press conference last Saturday, savaging journalists for being “losers” who ask “stupid questions” before she picked up her podium and attacked a reporter with it.

The skit has also satirised Mr Spicer for hawking Ivanka Trump products, with Vanity Fair writing in a review that the sketch goes “right to the jugular”.

Both Mr Spicer and Mr Trump have repeatedly accused journalists of reporting “fake news” about the new administration.

In his first White House briefing, he lambasted journalists for their coverage of the presidential inauguration, accusing them of misreporting the number of people in the crowd.

He further antagonised the press when he banned journalists from leading outlets including the BBC and the New York Times from attending a recent briefing.

There have been reports that Mr Trump regrets hiring the Republican stalwart and that his first choice for the role was his close aide, Kellyanne Conway.