ABC Interviews ‘Infamous’ Spicer, Demands He Apologize to America

In a remarkably hostile interview with former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday, correspondent Paula Faris asked the former presidential spokesman if he ever “lied to American people,” pressed him to apologize to country, and labeled him “the most famous and infamous former press secretary of modern times.”

She began by grilling Spicer about his “controversial appearance at the Emmys” and speculated: “Some argue that the reason you did it is because this is step one this trying to rehab your image.” Spicer replied: “I feel very good with my image. I’m very happy with myself...I’m out having some fun.”

 

 

“It might be fun for Spicer, but not for his many critics,” Faris derisively followed. She scolded: “People have hard feelings toward you because they feel that you lied to the American people. Have you ever lied to the American people?” Spicer denied the accusation: “I don't think so.” Faris incredulously pressed: “You don't think so?...Unequivocally you can say no?”

Running to the defense of her colleagues in the liberal media, Faris fretted: “Any regrets about the combative relationship with the press corps?” Spicer admitted: “Look, I’ve made mistakes, there’s no question.” He then took his critics to task: “But to watch some of the personal attacks questioning my integrity, questioning my – you know, what my intentions were, I think were really over the top.”

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After highlighting how she “pressed Spicer on some of his most controversial moments” including his statements about the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, Faris worried: “Did the President ever ask you to lie or manipulate the truth?” Spicer said no.

Still intent on painting Spicer as a liar, Faris touted: “There is a report that the big networks won’t hire you because of a, quote, ‘lack of credibility.’ Is that true?...Do you think you have a credibility issue, Sean?” He responded: “I don’t. But it’s up to other people’s judge of that.”

Wrapping up the contentious exchange, Faris proclaimed: “Perhaps the most famous and infamous former press secretary of modern times, Spicer is now a celebrity in his own right. But to some of his detractors, there is still unfinished business.” She demanded: “So many Americans feel they deserve an apology from Sean Spicer, are they ever going to get one?”

Spicer rejected the notion:

I think that there are things that I did during my time there that I needed 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. I know that there are some folks that no matter what we say or do, they were never gonna – they just – and some folks in the media that wanted – they never – they think that everything we did was wrong and want some blanket apology. That’s not happening.

Following the taped segment, co-host Robin Roberts insinuated Spicer was being dishonest: “I think it was very telling when you flat-out asked him, ‘Have you ever lied?’ That seems to be like a yes-or-no response and we didn’t get a yes-or-no response.” Faris agreed: “We certainly didn’t.”

It is beyond hypocritical that a network morning show hosted by former Bill Clinton spin doctor George Stephanopoulos would have the audacity to question the credibility of another White House spokesman and suggest that it would be inappropriate for a network to hire him.

Introducing an interview with Spicer for The Washington Post on Wednesday, reporter Erik Wemple declared: “Any major network that hired Spicer as a contributor may well have faced a revolt among its White House correspondents, as well as other journalists outraged by the press secretary’s conduct.”

Faris’s biased sit-down with Spicer was brought to viewers by TripAdvisor, Listerine, and Target.

Here are excerpts of the lengthy September 21 interview:

7:31 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to move on now to that ABC News exclusive with Sean Spicer. Paula Faris is right here, she interviewed the former White House Press Secretary coming off that controversial appearance at the Emmys. You had a lot to talk to him about.

PAULA FARIS: He certainly did. Good morning to all of you and good morning everyone. Sean Spicer has been off the job for less than a month. He’s now keeping himself busy on the speakers  circuit and most recently a cameo at the Emmys, which caught the eye of his former boss.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: One-on-One With Sean Spicer; Was Emmy Appearance An Attempt to Rehab Image?]

[CLIP OF SPICER’S EMMYS APPEARANCE]

FARIS: Have you spoken with the President about your cameo?

SEAN SPICER: I have.

FARIS: And what did he say?

SPICER: He was very supportive. He thought I did a great job. And so it was very reassuring.

FARIS: Some argue that the reason you did it is because this is step one this trying to rehab your image.

SPICER: 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.

FARIS: It might be fun for Spicer, but not for his many critics. People have hard feelings toward you...

SPICER: I understand that.

FARIS: ...because they feel that you lied to the American people. Have you ever lied to the American people?

SPICER: I don't think so.

FARIS: You don't think so?  

SPICER: Nope, I don’t cleat on my taxes.

FARIS: Unequivocally you can say no?

SPICER: Look, again, you want to find something – I have not knowingly done anything to do that, no.

FARIS: Any regrets about the combative relationship with the press corps?

[CLIP OF SPICER’S EXCHANGES WITH WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS]

SPICER: Look, I’ve made mistakes, there’s no question. I think we all do. 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 realize that that was a mistake, I'm sorry about that.” But to watch some of the personal attacks questioning my integrity, questioning my – you know, what my intentions were, I think were really over the top.

FARIS: We pressed Spicer on some of his most controversial moments, like the inaugural crowd size.

SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.

FARIS: He says his delivery could have been better, but makes no apologies for doing his job. The photographic evidence was contradictory.

(...)

FARIS: And when President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, there were contradictory stories as to why he was dismissed.

(...)

FARIS: Once you learned the truth behind what was really going on, why didn’t you set the record straight? Because as Press Secretary...

SPICER: The President did.

FARIS: ...you don’t think that you have an obligation as Press Secretary to set the record straight, though?

SPICER: He set it straight. My job is help give voice to what his thinking is when he can’t do it himself. In that case, he did it himself.  

FARIS: Did the President ever ask you to lie or manipulate the truth?  

SPICER: No, no.

(...)

FARIS: There is a report that the big networks won’t hire you because of a, quote, “lack of credibility.” Is that true?

SPICER: We are still negotiating with some entities and I also believe that I’m not going to get into some of the private discussions that we are having with those and other companies and outlets.

FARIS: Do you think you have a credibility issue, Sean?

SPICER: I don’t. But it’s up to other people’s judge of that.

FARIS: Perhaps the most famous and infamous former press secretary of modern times, Spicer is now a celebrity in his own right. But to some of his detractors, there is still unfinished business. So many Americans feel they deserve an apology from Sean Spicer, are they ever going to get one?

SPICER: I think that there are things that I did during my time there that I needed 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. I know that there are some folks that no matter what we say or do, they were never gonna – they just – and some folks in the media that wanted – they never – they think that everything we did was wrong and want some blanket apology. That’s not happening.

FARIS: Now Spicer tells us that Anthony Scaramucci absolutely was the impetus for him leaving and says if the President asked him to return to the White House it would be, quote, “Difficult to ever say no to the President,” but he doesn’t anticipate that call you guys. As for his immediate future, you might see him on a reality TV show, George. He says he’s been presented several opportunities and is weighing his options right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you could really see his demeanor change when you asked about that Mueller investigation. And there’s a report on the website Axios this morning, Mike Allen the reporter, who says that Spicer actually kept notebook after notebook during his time at the RNC, during his time at the White House, likely to be a matter of interest for Mueller. And he’s even threatened, Mike Allen saying, “I’m going to have legal authorities to go after you if you keep on questioning me.” These are questions he just doesn’t want to answer.

FARIS: Yeah, he clearly doesn’t want to go there right now, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Paula Faris, thanks very much.

ROBIN ROBERTS: I think it was very telling when you flat-out asked him, “Have you ever lied?” That seems to be like a yes-or-no response and we didn’t get a yes-or-no response.

FARIS: We certainly didn’t.


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