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Sean Spicer Says 'I Choked' on Day 1 as Press Secretary

(Newsmax TV's "The Joe Pags Show")

By    |   Monday, 23 July 2018 09:43 PM

Sean Spicer says he realized by the end of his first day as press secretary "this was not going to be your father's White House" — admitting he "choked" in his first appearance before a "cantankerous" press corp.

In an interview Monday on "The Joe Pags Show" on Newsmax TV, Spicer, whose new book "The Briefing: Politics, The Press, and The President" hits bookshelves Tuesday, conceded it felt like he had walked into a firing squad.

"I don't think I did myself any favors the way it all started off, not just by the press corps, but by the president himself," Spicer said. "He was not pleased with that day. I choked. I don't think my mom and my wife — I'm not sure anybody was pleased that day."

"But there is this constant undermining of [President Donald] Trump and his campaign and his candidacy and then his victory," he asserted. "And I think that there had been a lot of cantankerous back and forth that occurred well before the first day."

"This president came to shake things up," Spicer said. "There's no question he did it. I talk a lot about this in the book, show what it's like, here's how I thought what I was walking into, how I prepare . . . and by the end of the first day when we realized that this was not going to be your father's White House."

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He also said he changed course quickly.

"I call one of the chapters literally 'Baptism by Fire,'" he said. "I learned that the president . . . was very, very particular about how he wanted things said and done. And I learned that it was incumbent upon me to check in with them to make sure that I was communicating exactly what and how he wanted things expressed."

"I had talked to a lot of my predecessors about how they prepared . . . and I learned very quickly and very often that you don't go out there and talk about what the president says or believes if he hasn't told you on a variety of topics without knowing what his current feeling is," Spicer said. "So, despite all the other input the you may have gotten, he wants to weigh out before his name get thrown around supporting or not supporting" an issue.

Spicer admitted: "There's no question about it: I could have done a much much better job of communicating what we want."

"I made a lot of mistakes . . . and I hope to some extent there's some lessons learned in there where people can say 'Wow, I actually can apply the lesson that he talks about in this book to my life, my business – so I don't make a similar mistake.'"

He also praised actress Melissa McCarthy for getting a comic characterization of him just right.

"I got a chuckle out of it," he said of her pitch-perfect performance. "The first one was funny and, frankly, she nailed it. She's a talented actor, played a role and she did it well. And like I said, I stepped in it, and it was funny and well deserved. I think at those moments, you gotta just laugh at yourself."

Spicer said he regrets people do not appreciate the side of Trump he got to know.

"He can be extremely empathetic and caring and thoughtful – and that's not something that a lot of people . . . want to see."

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Admitting he "choked" in his first appearance before a "cantankerous" press corp, Sean Spicer told Newsmax TV he realized by the end of his first day as press secretary "this was not going to be your father's White House."
sean spicer, the briefing, press secretary, inauguration crowd
Monday, 23 July 2018 09:43 PM
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