Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer conceded Thursday that he “screwed ... up royally” at times during his tenure on the podium for the Trump administration.
“There were times where I screwed up,” Spicer told HLN’s S.E. Cupp during an interview that aired Thursday. “There’s no question about.”
The former spokesman to President Donald Trump singled out his very first White House press briefing as one instance, an outing during which he sparred with reporters after falsely claiming that the president’s inauguration crowd had drawn the “largest audience” ever for the event.
“The inauguration. You brought it up. I would say that’s first and foremost,” Spicer said, listing times when he failed to live up to his own standards.
In September, during his first live interview since exiting the White House days earlier, Spicer admitted that the bitter exchange with reporters, which fueled early news cycles for the Trump presidency, was likely not “the best start.” But until Thursday, he had yet to fully reconcile his incorrect statements.
Spicer also lamented another appearance in which he criticized President Bashar al-Assad of Syria by comparing his country’s chemical attack on civilians to Hitler’s actions during World War II.
“You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer claimed in April, despite Hitler’s having deployed poison gas in the killing of millions during the Holocaust. Spicer later apologized for the remarks, telling MSNBC that he “let the president down.”
“There was an event where I was trying to talk about how evil Assad was, and I screwed that up royally,” Spicer said on HLN.
Spicer, whose tenure as press secretary was marked by heated exchanges with journalists, said he was personally affected by some of his errors.
“When I screwed up, yeah, it felt really bad,” he said, “because you’re realizing that you’re tarnishing your personal reputation, your family’s reputation, your friends who like you and love you, some of your colleagues and, ultimately, again, this administration and the American people who I wanted to do my best for every single day.”
Spicer has re-emerged to make several media appearances in recent weeks in promoting his upcoming book on the Trump White House, “The Briefing,” set to debut in July.