Sean Spicer, Trump's ex-media chief, applies to join White House press corps

Martin Pengelly in New York
·2-min read

Four years after he kicked off the Trump presidency by lying angrily about the size of the inauguration crowd, former press secretary Sean Spicer has applied to join the White House press corps.

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The former Republican party official now hosts a show, Spicer & Co, on the hard-right and conspiracy-tinged Newsmax network. He has applied for membership of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

“I thought, why not?” Spicer told Politico. “I cover the White House every day on the show, and I have obviously had a lot to say about the coverage of the White House and the correspondents’ association over the last few years. You’re never gonna effect change if you stay on the sidelines.”

Spicer was front and centre on 21 January 2017, when he appeared in an ill-fitting suit to harangue the press, insisting Donald Trump attracted “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe”.

In fact it was not even close to the crowd for Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, though one official, acting on Trump’s behalf, was later revealed to have cropped photographs in an attempt to prove otherwise.

Trump also claimed it had not rained. It had.

Spicer’s constant battles with the press corps made him a celebrity, lampooned on Saturday Night Live, before he resigned over the short and farcical appointment of Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, a brash New York hedge fund manager, as communications director.

Spicer has since become a pro-Trump author, been named a fellow at Harvard and even danced to the Spice Girls on Dancing with the Stars, surviving eight weeks before being voted off.

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He told Politico he already had a White House hard pass, guaranteeing access to interview officials, and credentials to cover Congress.

Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki, a former state department spokeswoman, is due to give her first briefing on Wednesday, inauguration day.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Biden will appear before a limited crowd for the ceremony, the National Mall largely filled with flags.

Politico said the WHCA would decide on Spicer’s application “in the coming weeks”.