It's been pretty apparent for a while that President Trump needs to fire the White House press secretary. The simple reason is that Spicer is failing in his duties to communicate effectively and was consistently making his own performance on the job the story. The only trouble was, it wasn't readily apparent who could take his place. Now it is.
Enter Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and fill-in spokesperson at the White House this week. To put it simply, Huckabee Sanders has been doing a fine job.
Meanwhile Spicer is, well... apparently hiding in the bushes.
Of course, whoever holds the press secretary job is probably of little importance to actual voters, and mentally healthy non-politicos. This is especially true with a social media-addicted president who has rather brilliantly sidestepped the need for a great deal of what the White House press corps does in the first place.
But the press secretary's job performance is still crucial because if it falters, it can provide a distraction from any given president's agenda. The press secretary needs to be there to put out public relations fires. He or she may not succeed at doing that most of the time, especially with the clearly anti-Trump mainstream media. But the worst thing that can happen is having someone in the job who creates new fires on his or her own. And in fewer than five months on the job, Spicer has started more fires than a kid playing with matches in a paper factory.
Let's just recap some of his biggest verbal blunders:
- Starting off on day one with an embarrassing and baseless tirade on the size of the crowd at the Trump inauguration. That one earned him the "honor" of being portrayed by Melissa McCarthy on "Saturday Night Live" more than once and an infamous "Four Pinocchio" rating from the Washington Post's fact-checker Glenn Kessler.
- Insisting to the news media that President Trump's travel ban on people from seven countries was not a "ban," even though President Trump used that exact word to describe it.
- And the all-time No. 1 entry into his personal Hall of Shame was when he said: "You had someone as despicable as Hitler didn't even sink to using chemical weapons."
Add to that Spicer's odd avoidance of the news media Tuesday by apparently hiding at least partially in the White House bushes (He later clarified that he was actually among the bushes, not IN the bushes), and you can see what it's past time for a change.
Change is what we saw this week. Huckabee Sanders didn't just fill in for Spicer on any normal day. Wednesday, she took his place just hours after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.