It turns out all it took to get Donald Trump to demote Sean Spicer was to have him portrayed as a woman on Saturday Night Live. Nevermind that Spicer has been bumblingly incompetent for the entirety of his two-plus weeks on the job in the White House; that didn’t seem to matter so much. But now Trump thinks Spicer is “weak” because SNL used a female actress, Melissa McCarthy, to lampoon him, and sure enough, Spicer is being demoted.
Don’t get too excited just yet, as it appears Sean Spicer will continue doing the White House press briefings even after his demotion. But from the start, Spicer has been serving as White House Press Secretary and White House Communications Director, after Jason Miller had to decline the latter job due to a sex scandal. Communications Director is the more senior role of the two, but now that role is going to be taken away from Spicer, as CNN is reporting that the Trump White House has begun actively searching for a new Communications Director.
That means Spicer is being busted down to just being Press Secretary, and the new White House Communications Director will be his boss. When you hold two titles and the more senior title is taken away from you and given to someone new who then becomes your supervisor, that’s the textbook definition of a demotion no matter how the Trump White House ends up spinning it.
And that’s not a huge surprise, considering that the aggressively angry and defensive Spicer has the opposite demeanor of someone who should be dealing with the media, and based on his consistently poor performance, he needs supervision. But what stands out is that Donald Trump appears to have only instructed his people to demote Spicer and find a new Communications Director after Trump was embarrassed that a woman portrayed Spicer. No wonder the internet is now trying to get Rosie O’Donnell to portray Steve Bannon on SNL next.
Again, Sean Spicer will apparently keep his Press Secretary title, and he’ll apparently continue doing the press briefings, so we are not reporting that he’s about to disappear, but rather that he’s been demoted. One thing to watch going forward is whether or not this demotion is meant as a stepping stone for nudging him into resigning from the White House.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report