Sean Spicer says Trump is only guilty of hyperbole: 'This is how he interacts'

Key Points
  • Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer rebutted claims that President Donald Trump often doesn't tell the truth.
  • "This is how he interacts," Spicer said, adding that Trump is just a "salesman" prone to "hyperbole."
  • He also called on the press to police itself as harshly as it does the president.

Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer considers President Donald Trump a salesman who engages in "hyperbole," not the liar that his opponents make him out to be.

Asked Thursday to explain why the president has so often been caught making statements that turned out either to be untrue or exaggerations, Spicer said that's the nature of the man.

"He's a salesman," he said at a Yahoo Finance conference in Manhattan. "The idea that people are just waking up to — read his books back in the '80s — this is how he interacts."

Trump has been called out numerous times for net telling the truth. A Washington Post tracker charged the president with lying more than 3,000 times in his first 466 days in office. Few if any other presidents have invited the type of scrutiny Trump has seen since taking office in January 2017.

Spicer was forced to defend the president many times during his run as both press secretary and communications director. He admitted himself to "screwing up" on occasion and said he corrected the record when he was wrong.

But he said the press does not police itself as well as it does Trump.

"You hold yourselves accountable in a vastly different way than you expect others to be held accountable," Spicer said. "At some point there needs to be some introspection as to how the industry is doing its job."