It’s hard to imagine two White House press secretaries presenting a more striking contrast during their first time facing reporters than Sean Spicer and Jen Psaki.
Spicer was already spitting mad after journalists challenged Donald Trump’s lie that the turnout for his inauguration was the biggest ever. Little did anyone know that such outrageously fallacious boasts and furious defenses by angry press secretaries would become the norm in the Trump administration.
“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” Spicer angrily declared at the time.
Psaki, on the other hand, was pleasant and smiling on Wednesday, and delivered a briefing free of lies and insults. She also acknowledged that she and the press will see things differently at times.
“That’s okay,” Psaki said. “That’s part of our democracy.”
As one Twitter critic noted, the new “normal” felt like a “warm hug.”
Spicer didn’t come off well in a contrasting video created by The Recount — and HuffPost (above).
Day 1 Press Briefings: Trump admin vs. Biden admin pic.twitter.com/S5wd57YrSr
— The Recount (@therecount) January 21, 2021
Spicer, true to form, lashed out after Psaki’s debut, saying the press was unfair to him when he was press secretary and that’s why he behaved the way he did. He complained that reporters only lobbed softball questions at Psaki, then posted a Fox News story backing him up. The article didn’t point out that Spicer had to answer for Trump lying right out of the gate.
Tale of two briefings: Jen Psaki treated much differently by press than Sean Spicerhttps://t.co/eZdfbExTRU
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) January 21, 2021
Spicer also hammered Psaki’s response to a question about why President Joe Biden didn’t wear a mask during the inauguration. She said Biden was “celebrating an historic day,” that other COVID precautions were taken and added: “I don’t know that I have more for you.”
Critics on Twitter weren’t buying Spicer’s excuses or his whining about a double standard. Former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany got zapped, too:
God this is pathetic, Sean. You came in and lied the minute you walked in. You chewed them out and stormed off stage like a diva and it was all over petty little lies. You pissed away your integrity on Day 1. You get no forgiveness until you admit your guilt. Collaborator.
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) January 22, 2021
The first thing you did was to lie about the crowd size at Trump's inauguration. When you prove yourself a liar, you get treated like a liar.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) January 21, 2021
I mean...what did you expect when you decided to light your (little remaining) credibility on fire by telling a demonstrably false lie about the crowd size? You dug your own grave here, Sean.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) January 21, 2021
Sean. Look deep into your heart. Go watch the tapes. We all know why the media treated you like a hack. And it's not because you're being held to a double standard. You reap what you sow, homie. It wasn't crops.
— Robert Hallock🌹 (@Thracks) January 22, 2021
You have no shame or self awareness. Your very first statement to the press was a lie, a lie delivered sullenly because you were ordered to deliver it, and it was all downhill from there.
— Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) January 21, 2021
Sean, this was because on the first full day of the Trump administration, you came into the briefing room and straight up lied about something as ridiculous as the size of the crowd Trump drew at the inaugural.
Then you stomped off without taking any questions.
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) January 21, 2021
Hey Sean- remember when you lied... about everything... all the time?
We do. pic.twitter.com/6oDnPELirx
— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) January 21, 2021
Have we been abused by the Trump administration so much that a regular, uneventful press briefing feels like a warm hug from a loving family member?
— Michael Glea-ning Hope ❤️ (@_michaelgleason) January 21, 2021
it's amazing that 45 started like this, antagonizing and patronizing. To think that the whole presidency was different levels of "them knowing better than us" and they are shocked that they didn't retain the office. Treat us like humans, not cattle. Thank you America for Biden
— Hamish (@OurWarrendale) January 21, 2021
Trump admin: Mean, petty & confrontational
Biden admin: Kind, friendly, & informative
Bore me with normal, please. I'm thankful for normal.
— lostime4me (@lostime4me) January 21, 2021
— Theodora Michaels (@tmichaels1) January 21, 2021
I remember wondering why Spicer was YELLING AT EVERYONE!!!
— Betsy Ross’ Needle (@emulvey2001) January 21, 2021
It's been a refreshing two briefing days.
— Janet Lance (@jancoolyn) January 22, 2021
Kayleigh McEnany used to stand there every day with a cross around her neck and lie to the American people. It's such a relief to have a real @PressSec again.
— LaurenBaratzLogsted (@LaurenBaratzL) January 22, 2021
Jen Psaki: "I'm going to tell the TRUTH"
Kayleigh McEnany: pic.twitter.com/kl9kI3Z6QW
— Archie (@ToFollowOrNot2) January 21, 2021
Also on HuffPost
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.