Nobody thinks Sean Spicer has an easy job.
Every day, he has to go out and present the public face of the White House and defend the frequently controversial decisions and statements of Donald Trump.
Mr Spicer, whose daily press briefings earn huge television ratings and who has become something of a celebrity in his own right, does a manful job. But sometimes he gets a little hot under the collar.
One such incident happened this week, when he was asked by a reporter to explain when it was correct to take the president at his word.
NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander asked when people should assume Mr Trump was telling the truth.
“If he’s not joking, of course,” said Mr Spicer, to some laughter among reporters. “Every time that he speaks authoritatively, that he speaks, he’s speaking as president of the United States.”
Mr Alexander said that when he was campaigning for the presidency, Mr Trump had described jobs figures as “phony”. Now he had taken office, he was celebrating such numbers
“You said, ‘They may have been phony in the past but it’s very real now,'” said Mr Alexander, repeating Mr Spicer’s words back to him. “When should Americans trust the president? Should they trust the president, is it phony or real when he says President Obama was wiretapped?”
Mr Spicer responded: “He doesn’t really think that President Obama went up and tapped his phone personally. But there’s no question that the Obama administration, that there were actions about surveillance and other activities that occurred in the 2016 election. That is a widely reported activity that occurred back then.”
Mr Alexander then brought up the Congressional Budget Office, which has estimated that 14m fewer people will have access to health insurance under the Republican place to repeal and replace Obamacare,
He said: “I guess the question is when can we trust the president, when he says something is phony or when he says it’s real?”
Another reporter then pointed out to Mr Spicer that he has both said that Trump’s “tweets speaks for themselves” and has clarified certain tweets, such as the Obama wiretapping allegation.
“When do you decide when a president’s tweets - when his words - are open to interpretation, and when those words stand on their own,” Mr Spicer was asked.
“He literally had it in quotes,” Mr Spicer said, referring to Mr Trump’s claim - made without providing any evidence - that Mr Obama had wiretapped him
“He said it was in quotes. It was referring to surveillance overall. It’s something that had been referred to in other reports.”
Independent News Service