Sean Spicer insisted Thursday morning that he never ‘knowingly’ lied to the American people during his time as White House press secretary, despite lingering concerns over lasting damage his loose approach to facts may have done to the institution.
Asked on ‘Good Morning America’ if he lied from the briefing podium, he replied: ‘I don’t think so. No.’
‘Look, again, you want to find something – I have not knowingly done anything to do that. No.’
A grinning Spicer also said President Donald Trump never asked him to lie or misrepresent anything to the American public, and offered that he also doesn’t ‘cheat on my taxes.’
The former Trump spokesman insisted, however, that his critics have gone too far in branding him as a serial liar and mocking his failure to secure a lucrative job with a TV network.
Sean Spicer insisted Thursday morning that he never ‘knowingly’ lied to the American people during his time as White House press secretary
Spicer claimed on Good Morning America that he doesn’t suffer from a credibility problem, ‘but it’s up to other people to judge that’
‘Look, I made mistakes. There’s no question. I think we all do,’ he said. ‘Some of them I tried to own, very publicly. And in some cases there were things that I did that until someone brought it up – I said “Gosh, I didn’t know that was a mistake. I’m sorry about that”.’
‘But to watch some of the personal attacks questioning my integrity, questioning, you know, what my intentions were, I think were really over the top.’
Spicer claimed he doesn’t suffer from a credibility problem, ‘but it’s up to other people to judge that.’
And the world won’t soon be hearing a ‘blanket apology’ for his actions in the West Wing, he said.
‘I think that there are things that I did during my time there that I need to go out and correct. I did that. Where there were mistakes that were made, that I got something wrong, I think I’ve owned that,’ Spicer said Thursday.
‘I know that there are some folks that no matter what we say or do, they were never going to – they just, and some folks in the media that wanted – they’re never – [they] think that everything we did was wrong and want some blanket apology. That’s not happening.’
Some journalists ‘think that everything we did was wrong and want some blanket apology – That’s not happening,’ Spicer said
‘Good Morning America’ asked Spicer about three specific instances that helped his critics brand him as a liar.
Referring to a Day One press conference where he berated reporters for their skeptical coverage of the president’s inauguration, he allowed that saying the event was the most-watched ever was a misstep.
‘I think it might have been better to be a lot more specific with what we were talking about in terms of the universe, not focused so much on photographic evidence, et cetera,’ he said.
‘I think I could have had more facts at hand and been more articulate in describing the entirety of what that day was about.’
In a comment that wasn’t aired but appeared on ABC’s website, Spicer explained that pictures of the inauguration crowd in Washington, D.C. didn’t tell the whole story.
‘There are more social platforms, more online platforms to view things … than existed eight years prior,’ he said.
Spicer lasted six months as the White House’s chief spokesman, constantly battling against claims that he was loose with facts
Last weekend the former Trump aide made a surprise Emmy Awards appearance, lampooning one of his own infamous moments
Referring to days of back-and-forth explanations in February of whether the president’s ‘travel ban’ was in fact a ‘ban,’ Spicer said he could have been ‘more consistent from the beginning in terms of the terms that we would use and the goals that we were trying to achieve.’
‘I’ll take a mulligan on that one,’ he said, the closest he came to an apology.
And in reference to the May firing of FBI Director James Comey, Spicer said he wasn’t to blame for confusion over whether Trump intended to swing the axe before he received a written recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Trump himself had ‘set it straight,’ he said Thursday, referring to the president’s later clarification in a TV interview that he had already decided to let Comey go ahad of time.
‘My job is to help give voice to what his thinking is when he can’t do it himself. In that case he did it himself.’
Spicer has been fighting accusations that a recent star turn at the Emmy Awards is part of a larger effort to rehabilitate his image.
He said he has checked in with his former boss about the moment when he whelled a podium onto the stage and lampooned his own tirade about Trump’s inauguration crowd size.
‘He thought I did a great job. … It was very reassuring,’ Spicer said, reiterating that ‘I feel very good with my image.’
‘I’m very happy with myself. I am able to go out and explain a lot of things now, but I’m not on a tour. I’m out having some fun.’
Spicer was part of Trump’s initial senior staff, most of whom are now gone. Also pictured are former chief of staff Reince Priebus (top) and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn (right)
Spicer’s tirades in the White House briefing room led to a series of mocking ‘Saturday Night Live’ portrayals by actress Melissa McCarthy
Spicer’s interview on ABC covered many of his controversial moments, but he wouldn’t address the wide-ranging special counsel probe into whether the president’s campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 election.
‘I’m not going to discuss that issue at all,’ he said, four separate times, using the same exact words in a practiced deflection.
He did say, however, that he would be willing to cooperate if he’s asked to testify.
‘I would do anything – there’s an issue of executive privilege, and as long as that’s not invoked I will do everything to further, to do my part to further this investigation coming to a swift conclusion,’ he said.
On the question of whether there’s still hope of landing a television gig, Spicer was noncommital.
‘We are still negotiating with some entities,’ he said, ‘and I also believe that – I’m not going to get into some of the private discussions we’re having with those and other companies and outlets.’