Donald Trump’s former press secretary is a contestant on the show’s 28th season, alongside Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown (whose defence of “good guy” Spicer prompted backlash last month), Lamar Odom, The Bachelorette‘s Hannah Brown, and James Van Der Beek, among others.
The news of his casting was met with outrage from many social media users, who were shocked to see Spicer (who lied about the size of the crowd at Mr Trump’s inauguration and falsely claim that Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons”) featured on a national television programme.
Nevertheless, Spicer made his debut on the show on Monday. In his introduction segment, he reflected on his “very tumultuous” time at the White House as excerpts from his infamously aggressive press conferences played on the screen.
“I think it gave people a very one-dimensional look at who I am as a person,” he deplored.
Spicer said he was “honoured” when Mr Trump celebrated the news of his DWTS casting in a tweet, predicting that his former press secretary would “do great” on the show.
“It’s nice to have the leader of the free world on your side when it comes to getting votes,” the former White House aide said.
He eventually stepped onstage wearing a neon green, ruffled shirt that earned numerous comparisons to iceberg lettuce on social media.
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Spicer then launched into a salsa number to the Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life”, banging on bongos before he was joined by his partner Lindsay Arnold.
Judge Bruno Tonioli excoriated Spicer’s performance, telling him: “You were going bonkers with the bongos. What were you doing there? You looked like you were being attacked by a swarm of wasps.”
Tonioli conceded that there was “some elements of salsa there”, though they were “not always on time or on rhythm” and Spicer’s hips were “set in cement”.
Still, Tonioli deemed Spicer’s turn “strangely entertaining” while judge Carrie Ann Inaba praised his “sense of fun” – nothing that he was “offbeat most of the dance”.
Judge Len Goodman told Spicer he admired his “courage” for coming on the show and praised him for “[bringing] fun to the ballroom”.
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Spicer and Arnold earned a total score of 12 for their performance.
There were no eliminations during Monday’s episodes. Those will start next week and will depend on a combination of votes from the public and scores awarded by the judges.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (the father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who took over Spicer’s job) urged people to vote for Spicer on the show on Twitter, claiming that doing so would ”create an emotional meltdown in Hollyweird”.
“Thank you @GovMikeHuckabee. Clearly the judges aren’t going to be with me,” Spicer responded. “Let’s send a message to #Hollywood that those of us who stand for #Christ won’t be discounted. May God bless you.”