Sean Spicer has admitted that working as White House Press Secretary under President Donald Trump was “exhausting” and “lonely” and that he was “embarrassed” for his inauguration “screw up”. However, in his first UK interview, on BBC’s Newsnight show, Spicer continued to support Trump, claiming that “he did the right thing in the end” when it came to “clarifying” his remarks about Russia at the Helsinki summit.
Speaking to Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, Spicer said that he wished he could have had a “do-over” when it came to discussing Trump’s inauguration attendance figures, where he claimed it “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period”. “I set the dye on that day for a lot of what was to come. What I was trying to do, and clearly not well, was change the focus of the number of people attending it to the total audience watching it. I did not do a very good job. That goes down as one of those days that I’d like a do-over. Nobody was happy with me that day,” he said. “I screwed up and it was incredibly embarrassing and lonely.”
He added that it was an “honor” and a “privilege” to hold the job but admitted that it was exhausting. “I knew I was becoming the story too often… a spokesman should be speaking for somebody else, not having to defend themselves day in and day out,” he said, adding that the administration felt “constantly under attack”, which was “wearing”.
On Russia, Spicer claims that Trump “did the right thing” after walking back his remarks that he believed Russia over his own U.S. intelligence agencies. “By the time I caught up [with the news], the White House was clarifying the statement, which I think was the right thing to do. I think it’s very clear that Russia is not a friend to the United States.
“He did the right thing at the end. Having sat in that chair before when you’re reacting, a lot of times, it could very well have been him that said ‘I didn’t realize how this went down and I want to correct it’ or it could have been staff members coming in. I don’t know but I think there’s always a rush to judgement… I’m glad he did the right thing.”
Spicer, who is shooting a Debmar-Mercury-produced Washington, DC talkshow pilot, added that he wouldn’t go back to serve in the Trump administration.