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The many indignities of Sean Spicer

Gabby Kaufman Yahoo NewsAm

White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned his post Friday after six months and one half day on the job, surviving almost weekly predictions of his imminent departure at the hands of one or another of the president’s aides and advisers.

The final indignity appeared to be Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director, news which became public shortly before. Spicer’s tenure was characterized by frequently testy and rarely enlightening exchanges with the media, memorably lampooned by Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live.” Here are a few moments that help explain why no mother ever dreamed her child might grow up to be a presidential press secretary.

January 21: A memorable first briefing

Spicer held his first press briefing the day after the inauguration. After calling journalists to the White House Saturday evening, Spicer berated them for reporting on photos released by the National Park Service which compared the crowed gathered on the National Mall to that for former President Obama’s first inauguration in 2009. The turnout for Trump was visibly smaller. Spicer stormed the podium to claim, falsely, “That was the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.”

January 21: Trump polices Spicer’s fashion

In the aftermath of that first press briefing, Trump’s criticism focused on his choice of suit — a gray pinstripe. According to Axios, Trump asked an aide, “Doesn’t the guy own a dark suit?”

February 4: Melissa McCarthy impression

Two weeks into his job, Spicer was skewered with a “Saturday Night Live” parody. Melissa McCarthy, in a role she would reprise several times over the season, portrayed him as a vehement, gum-snapping ranter who chased down reporters with a weaponized podium. According to a Politico report, what most irked Trump about the send-up was the fact that Spicer was portrayed by a woman.

Ongoing: The tweets speak for themselves

Trump believes himself to be his own spokesperson, and he frequently acted that way on Twitter. Forced to answer from the podium for the president’s incessant, frequently belligerent or incomprehensible tweets, Spicer developed a handy catch phrase: “The tweet speaks for itself.”

May 9: Hiding in the bushes

Without a doubt, one of the most challenging aspects of Spicer’s job was acting as a mouthpiece for an unpredictable and impulsive boss. When Trump fired FBI director James Comey, shocking many on both sides of the aisle, Spicer relied on White House landscaping to avoid the press. A Washington Post report detailed how Spicer was “huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge” and “spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes.” (After originally writing that Spicer was “in,” rather than “among,” the bushes, the Post issued a correction to “more precisely describe … Spicer’s location.”)

May 24: Snubbed from papal meeting

Trump’s first trip abroad as president included a visit to the Vatican and an audience with Pope Francis. Spicer, a devout Catholic, was under the impression he would be one of the White House officials selected to accompany the president, but he was excluded from the meeting “at the last minute” in favor of other senior staff members, according to a CNN report. A source told CNN of the snub, “Wow. That’s all he wanted.”

June 20: “Sean got fatter.”

In June, as the White House press briefings became less frequent and were increasingly held off camera, a reporter at The Atlantic asked chief strategist Steve Bannon why cameras were banned in the briefing room. He responded, “Sean got fatter.”

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U.S. warship crew found likely at fault in June collision: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The crew of the USS Fitzgerald was likely at fault in the warship's collision with a Philippine cargo ship in June and had not been paying attention to their surroundings, according to initial findings in an investigation, a U.S. defense official told Reuters on Friday.

Multiple U.S. and Japanese investigations are under way into how the USS Fitzgerald, a guided missile destroyer, and the much larger ACX Crystal container ship collided in clear weather south of Tokyo Bay in the early hours of June 17.

The collision tore a gash below the Fitzgerald's waterline, killing seven sailors in what was the greatest loss of life on a U.S. Navy vessel since the USS Cole was bombed in Yemen's Aden harbor in 2000.

"There was not a lot that went right leading up to the crash. There were a string of errors, but they did a lot after the collision to save lives and the ship," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official said that in addition to crew members not paying attention to their surroundings, they did not take action until it was too late.

While the investigation is not complete, the official said crew members had given statements and radar data had been gathered, and it was unlikely the findings would change.

A U.S. Navy spokeswoman said the investigation was in the early stages and it was premature to speculate on the causes.

The incident has spurred a number of investigations, including those by the U.S. Navy and a probe by the United States Coast Guard on behalf of the National Transportation Safety Board. The Japan Transport Safety Board and the Philippines government are conducting separate investigations.

Last month Reuters reported that an account of the incident by the Philippine cargo ship's captain said that the U.S. warship had failed to respond to warning signals or take evasive action before the collision.

The ACX Crystal had been chartered by Japan's Nippon Yusen KK.


(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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