Spicer at Harvard: Off-the-Record Speeches, Unchallenged Lies

Inside ‘the secret Harvard fellowship’ of Sean Spicer

By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2017 1:34 PM CDT
Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer speaks to attendees at Shale Insight 2017, at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017.   (Andrew Rush/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
(Newser) – Sean Spicer’s “secret Harvard fellowship” consisted of off-the-record speeches, repeated anecdotes, and unchallenged lies, Daniel Drabik writes for the Harvard Crimson. As part of his Visiting Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, the former press secretary held 11 events, including forums and meals, over three days. But: “Not a single word Sean Spicer spoke during his Visiting Fellowship at Harvard was on the record, nor could a single word could be heard without an explicit invite.” Harvard Kennedy School dean Douglas Elmendorf has said the school does “not shy away from … controversy, we insist that all speakers take questions.” Except when it comes to Spicer, apparently. “When given the opportunity to have an open dialogue with a controversial figure, the school chose to secretly shuttle Sean Spicer from restricted event to restricted event,” Drabik writes.

It’s unclear what was gained by granting Spicer that level of secrecy. It created a low-risk environment for the school (no concerns about protesters or the need to be truthful) but also a low-reward situation for students. “Harvard valued the comfort of itself and its guest more than it valued providing a learning opportunity for its students,” Drabik writes. And being off the record apparently didn’t allow Spicer to be any more candid than usual. A Spicer classroom speech attended by Drabik “followed the same playbook as his press secretary tenure: Dodge hard questions, make a few false statements, attack the media, claim that Trump is treated unfairly, etc.” Drabik wants less secrecy in the future, but things appear unlikely to change for the Harvard Kennedy School’s next Visiting Fellowship: former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

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RIP Sean Spicer 2017-2017 by The Daily Show

R.I.P. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, 2017 – 2017

Posted by The Daily Show on Friday, July 21, 2017

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The Daily Show Just Said Farewell to Sean Spicer in a Hilarious Tribute

Posted By: S. L. Nickerson July 21, 2017

Satirical News program the Daily Show put together a send-off montage for Sean Spicer, who resigned from his post as White House Press Secretary on Friday.

The Comedy Central show shared the video on Twitter with the words, “R.I.P. Sean Spicer as White House Press Secretary, 2017 – 2017.”

The video clip is a highlight reel of some of Spicers well-documented blunders during White Hous press briefings. For instance, the video touches on Spicer’s insistence that Trump’s inauguration was the largest ever (it wasn’t), his struggles to pronounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s name, and his berating of reporters. The video ends with Spicer leaving the podium and the White House press corps calling after him as he disappeared (another antic Spicer was known for).

The Daily Show’s “goodbye” video also highlighted Spicer’s controversial briefing where he tried to compare al-Assad to Hiter. Spicer incorrectly said Hitler never used chemical weapons and called concentration camps “holocaust centers” — statements he later had to apologize for.

Spicer resigned from his post suddenly on Friday, telling President Donald Trump he disagreed with Trump’s hiring of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. Trump allegedly wanted Spicer to stay in his post, but Spicer replied that the president was making a “major mistake.” Spicer himself was initially brought on by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to great skepticism from Trump. Many expected Spicer’s departure to happen at some point, as his role had been diminished and White Hosue spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders had largely taken over the on-camera (and off) press briefings over the last few weeks.

Spicer was repeatedly lampooned on social media and on Saturday Night Live for his fumbling of words and odd explanations for Trump’s behavior, with actor Melissa McCarthy, who would later receiving an Emmy nomination.

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