Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Watch Jimmy Kimmel Question Sean Spicer On President Trump's Inauguration Crowd Size

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

After eight weeks of freedom from the spotlight, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made his post-West Wing television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which he agreed to appear on after Kimmel asked him on Twitter. During the 20-minute conversation, which you can watch in full below, Kimmel asked Spicer about his disastrous first press briefing, where he insisted that President Trump's inauguration crowds were larger than President Obama's. "When you brought that crowd size thing out," Kimmel said, "you opened this terrible Pandora's Box."

Spicer had no idea that he was going to talk to the White House press corps about the crowd size— "I went in to set up my office"— but then "The president wanted to make sure the record got set straight... I think there was a faction of people out there that didn’t want to give him the credit that he rightly deserved."

Given the photographic evidence of the crowd sizes, Kimmel asked if he or any other White House staffers tried to talk Trump out of making a big deal out of the crowds. Spicer basically confirmed that, adding that Trump sometimes takes things personally, and even if "there were a lot of us that wanted to be focused on what he spoke about in his inaugural address.... he's president... he made a decision."

"Look, your job as press secretary is to represent the president's voice," Spicer explained, "and to make sure that you are articulating what he believes, [what] his vision is on policy, on issues and on other areas that he wants to articulate. Whether or not you agree or not isn't your job."

Support for LAist comes from

Kimmel also brought up Trump's antagonistic relationship with the press, "It seems that what [President Trump] calls fake news is really anything that criticizes him... And then he'll give validity to wacky news sources sometimes. Because they're complimentary. Do you think that is a dangerous thing to delegitimize the press for America?"

"I think it's a two-way street," Spicer argued. "And when these guys in the press corps go after the president in ways that are unbecoming—again, it's sort of like what your mom said, two wrongs don't make a right. I think sometimes when the press corps attacks the president, undermines him, calls into question his credibility from the outset, I think it creates a very poor relationship overall."

When Kimmel showed a clip of Melissa McCarthy's Saturday Night Live portrayal, Spicer giggled and admitted it was "kind of funny."

However, he revealed that he didn't think President Donald Trump "found as much humor in it as others."

"Was he particularly annoyed that a woman was playing you?" Kimmel asked. Spicer answered, laughing, "You know, I didn't really ask a ton of questions. That may have been a contributing factor."

"What a no-win situation," Kimmel exclaimed. "'They are making fun of me and [the president's] mad at me!'"

"And she wins an Emmy!" Spicer added.

Here's the full interview, where Spicer also declares that Trump is "a good man that really cares about this country."