Two special guests are featured on today’s Daily Signal Podcast. Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary for the Trump administration, and Diamond and Silk, who host a livestream video blog, join the podcast in two pre-recorded interviews.
We also cover these stories:
- An additional 4.4 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of unemployment claims to over 26 million since March.
- The House passed a $484 billion bill Thursday to alleviate the economic fallout small businesses have experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother, Don Reed, died from the coronavirus. He was 86 years old.
The Daily Signal Podcast is available on Ricochet, Apple Podcasts, Pippa, Google Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at [email protected]. Enjoy the show!
Rachel del Guidice: We are joined today on The Daily Signal Podcast by Sean Spicer. He served as the 28th White House press secretary and White House Communications Director under President [Donald] Trump. Sean, thank you for being with us today.
Sean Spicer: Thanks for having me.
Del Guidice: To start off, can you take us back to what it was like to be the 28th White House press secretary? What was that like?
Spicer: It was a lot of things. The first thing is, I always tell people it’s an unbelievable honor.
I grew up a working-class kid that never thought, you know, I did a tour of the White House, never mind working it, and to have that privilege is something that I still pinch myself [about] once in a while. So that part was there.
There was an intensity, though, to the job that I didn’t ever fathom. It’s an awesome responsibility because you’re almost on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, because you don’t know when something’s going to happen that you’re going to have to be ready to respond to.
So, after six years at the [Republican National Committee] and two presidential campaigns, jumping into that, in some ways I was ready for it, but it adds a layer of intensity that I had never expected.
And then I would say the other thing is, in the Trump administration, there’s a level of scrutiny that I just had never anticipated as well.
Del Guidice: Let’s talk about that, too. What was it like working with mainstream media and what was the kind of scrutiny that you experienced while there?
Spicer: I’ve been … in and out of PR work and media relations for campaigns, for the RNC for six years, in the military. A lot of these people I’ve known for decades. The difference was, I think, that they viewed this as a totally different deal, and there was an attempt to make it much more personal and petty than it had ever been.
And that was what was so different and kind of took me off guard, if you will, because there were folks that I thought, “OK, we can go back and forth … ” but it became a much more personal relationship and attack than I had ever seen before.
Del Guidice: … Were there times where the media would attack you personally versus—
Spicer: Oh, absolutely. …
Del Guidice: There’s policy discussion then there’s personal attacks. So what was that like?
Spicer: Absolutely. And they would jump to conclusions all the time.
Politico did a whole thing about how I tweeted out something and never [took] the time to look at the handle and [realize] that it wasn’t me, or the press secretary. Someone put my face on a Twitter profile and tweeted some stuff out.
But the attempts to jump the gun and constantly make it personal were always there.
Del Guidice: Speaking of that, what was the hardest part about that role for you? And … what is the hardest part for press secretaries in general?
Spicer: … I wrote a book that detailed my time in the White House [and talked about this]. And the hardest part for me was realizing that when you’re under attack and you’re the press secretary, it can never be about you. You’re supposed to be speaking for somebody else. And the second that it’s about you, you’re in trouble.
I realized that it was increasingly tough to do my job because the press had tried to focus on me. There were a couple of mistakes that I made, admittedly, that they amplified to make sure that it was a very, very intense and awkward situation.
Del Guidice: What about the role did you enjoy the most?
Spicer: I think the thing that I enjoyed the most was the opportunity to see, to be part of history in so many ways. … I had served in the Bush White House, I’d seen things, but never that close.
I mean, you’re in the room when the president’s saying and doing things or deciding things. You’re on the plane with him as we’re headed to summits. And to literally, in every way, shape, and form, have a front row seat to so many historic things was amazing.
Del Guidice: That’s incredible. … [Is there] any one experience that stands out during your time there, whether it was in the White House or maybe you were traveling for something, where it was a story that really just stood out to you?
Spicer: Yeah, yeah. I don’t know that everyone’s going to love my story, but I’m a die-hard New England Patriots fan, and … I’d gone to one game growing up. That wasn’t really in our budget.
So when they had won [the Super Bowl], they were coming to the White House, and the Patriots were all gathered in my office at one point, all the starters. And my family had been able to come with me. My children, my brother, his children, my mom, my sister.
It was just a moment where I stopped and I realized, “How crazy and amazing is this opportunity that I have been given? That I am sitting here, in the White House, 25 feet from the Oval Office, with the starting lineup of the New England Patriots in my office.” …
But the best part about it is that it wasn’t about me. I mean, it was kind of about me, but the idea that I had had my family there. It wasn’t like I called them afterward and said, “Hey, guys, really cool thing happened.” I was able to share that moment and that was the coolest part about it.
Del Guidice: That’s so incredible. So looking at President Trump’s time in office and working as his press secretary … what do you think to be the biggest accomplishments so far?
Spicer: I think, hands down, it’s his judicial appointments. Those will last well beyond the Trump administration and shape the judiciary for at least a generation. That’s key.
And then, I think, just the overall conservative agenda that he’s enacted, whether you’re talking about social issues and standing up for life or the economic stuff, cutting taxes, cutting regulations, and moving the economy forward.
The president has done exactly what he said he would do as a candidate, and then, we’re getting the results of that.
The economy’s moving forward, people are going back to work, veterans are getting the care that they need. The military is getting plussed up. We’re taking on our trade deals and reforming them in a way that’s positive to manufacturers, service providers.
It’s amazing, all the stuff. We’re not making excuses heading into a reelection. We’re actually trying to figure out how many of the accomplishments we have time to highlight.
Del Guidice: Thank you for sharing that. So looking at your work as a press secretary, and then thinking back to when you were growing up in school and how media coverage was at that point, and then what it is now, what kind of a change have you seen?
Spicer: A massive sea change. I think the thing that people forget when they talk about this is that the media had a monopoly back in those days when I was growing up.
It was ABC, NBC, CBS. You actually had to get up and turn a dial. There were no remotes. There was no cable. And you got an evening or a morning newspaper that told you everything you needed to know. There was no internet. They dominated what you saw, read, and heard, and the narrative that was dictated to you.
Now, there’s The Daily Signal Podcast, there’s Fox News, there’s Newsmax, there’s One America News, there’s Breitbart, there’s The Daily Caller.
All of these organizations have been able to come out and say, “Hey, we’re going to cover things that aren’t being covered. We’re going to talk about issues and the people that are being ignored by the mainstream media.” And they’ve added an element of competition, which is so great.
Del Guidice: On a little bit of a lighter note, you had an experience on “Dancing With the Stars.” What was that like?
Spicer: It was a nervousness that I’d never felt going into it, but I ended up absolutely loving my experience and the people that were involved in it.
Del Guidice: Did you face any kind of backlash from people from different points of view? What was that like? How did you handle it?
Spicer: The only backlash I felt was from the media, and that what they hated—and The New York Times wrote a story about this—was that they didn’t like the fact that it was actually all working, that I was getting along, that I was succeeding, and the people were enjoying hanging out together.
They wanted this to be difficult, and the media couldn’t stand the fact that it was actually turning out to be a fun and enjoyable experience, not just for me, but for everyone involved.
Del Guidice: So you have a new show coming out. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Spicer: Yeah. [It] starts Tuesday. It’s going to be a weeknight show on Newsmax Television. If you go to my website, seanspicer.com, you can sign up for updates on the show.
But every night, 6 o’clock, on Newsmax. You can set your DVR or watch it live. I don’t really care. We’re going to actually have a conversation like you and I are having, as opposed to a newscast. It’s a show. We’re going to talk about the issues, what’s not being covered, what is being covered, what it really means.
So often, the media likes to make everything very black-and-white and simplify all these issues, which, frankly, are very complicated, or have an impact on your life or maybe don’t, but they’re blowing it up and magnifying it. And I think we want to bring guests in and have an enjoyable, informative conversation.
Del Guidice: Speaking of what is being covered, what’s not being covered, what do you think is an issue today that really isn’t being covered as it should be?
Spicer: I think the deficit’s not being covered adequately. I think the threat that the president’s been out there talking about, Huawei.
There are existential national security threats that our country faces that I think we’ve gotten complacent as a country, and we think, “OK, we’re the superpower of the world.”
But China is knocking on that doorstep and threatening our way of life, and if we don’t wake up one day, this idea of socialism going through society and being an acceptable way of life is just something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.
Del Guidice: … Working in the news a lot, you see how reporters act, you see how the American public produces and reads news, all of that. What would you say to the American public about how they receive their news and where to get good news?
Spicer: Well, obviously, I’ve got a show a Newsmax, so they should go there. But they should look at a lot of things. I don’t think you should just focus on one thing.
That’s the beauty of it now, is that you’re finally able to recognize that there’s a lot of perspectives, and that you should go kind of the same way that you have your diet—fruits, vegetables, meat. You try to vary it to be a healthy person.
Vary your media diet. Watch different programs, look at different sources, follow different people on Twitter, but also don’t be myopic in this.
I think this is where the country is right now, is that you just get what you want to hear, versus looking at the other side. I dip in once in a while to the left-wing media, just so that I see how they’re presenting issues and how they’re covering things.
Del Guidice: Well, Sean, thank you so much for joining us on The Daily Signal Podcast.
Spicer: Thanks very much. We appreciate it. Have a great CPAC [Conservative Political Action Conference].
Del Guidice: Good to have you.
Spicer: Thank you.