There are moments when a viewer understands that public personalities are not looking forward to performing their chosen profession. Their eyes reveal that they feel like the fox in the hunt and begin the performance with diversions to delay the moment they know is coming. This happened yesterday with White House Press Secretary #Sean Spicer.

The front line

Sean Spicer is on the front line of the White House’s struggles with the Press. He is the person who must speak to the Press daily and explain developments, deny rumours or settle issues that have attracted the attention of the journalists.

Yesterday as he began the daily press briefing he was in the unenviable position of presenting news that was obsolete even before he spoke and which the journalists well knew had already been superseded.

As he read the first items delaying the inevitable moment that the questions would begin his eyes lifted occasionally to the journalists gathered not for a briefing but to hear the news that had already been announced by major newspapers including the New York Times that Republican House Leader was meeting with President Donald Trump to advise him that his proposed bill to replace the ACA was doomed to defeat.


The statements read by Spicer were still hopeful messages of victory in the House rather than the admission of defeat signalled by Ryan’s’ trip to the Oval Office.

When the questions began they already presumed a defeat and despite some shows of modifying the language they would continue in that tone for the duration of the briefing.

It was a painful and at the same time brave performance by a man faced with a difficult task in what may well be a defining moment in the Trump Presidency.

The Press Secretary had obviously been instructed to carry out the official line and the journalists took his performance in good will as they understood his difficulty.


Sean Spicer has been the target of much derision in the performance of his task and no doubt there will be some comments about the attempt to divert the press’ attention yesterday, yet Friday’s press briefing also gave the public some insight into the difficulties of a position whose voice goes around the world.

After the President himself the Press Secretary is not only the White House's channel for information to the Press but also the lightning rod in its moments of greatest difficulty and yesterday was certainly such a moment for the still inexperienced Oval Office.

We do not yet know how Donald Trump reacted to Sean Spicer’s gutsy performance but we can all wonder what will be the next occasion for which the Press Secretary will be called upon to face such difficult circumstances.

In every sense Sean Spicer is truly on the firing line, by the journalists and also from within the White House itself.