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Sean Spicer was ripped apart by a respected BBC News journalist Tuesday night. Spicer is promoting his new book about his time as Trump White House press secretary by giving interviews and perhaps did not expect the foreign press to hold him to account in ways the U.S. press never did.
BBC News anchor Emily Maitlis told Spicer he has “corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with” Donald Trump’s “lies.”
Maitlis made clear Spicer had doomed his tenure from the start, when he told reporters that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience of any U.S. president ever, a clear lie that damaged his reputation from day one.
“It became a joke,” she told him. “It became something that defined you.”
“You joked about it when you presented the Emmy awards,” Maitlis continued, funding into Spicer. “But it wasn’t a joke. It was the start of the most corrosive culture. You played with the truth, you led us down a dangerous path. You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies.”
Spicer, clearly not used to being confronted so clearly with the truth, appeared unnerved, and resorted to Trump’s playbook: attack the press.
“You act as though everything began and ended with that,” Spicer said defensively of his lies about Trump’s crowd size. “You’re taking no accountability for the many false narratives and false stories that the media had perpetrated.”
“He shouts ‘Fake News!’ when he doesn’t like something,” Maitlis responded.
Spicer dd not explain why a BBC News journalist should take responsibility for any false narratives or false stories, nor did he say what those might be.
Here’s a short clip of that part of the interview:
Sean Spicer absolutely eviscerated in BBC Interview:
“You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies” pic.twitter.com/cjqZl2Qd1N
— Chris Strider (@stridinstrider) July 24, 2018
Maitlis also confronted Spicer about the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape, and even noted that “the Republican candidate for president was talking about grabbing women by the pussy,” speaking the word that Trump used, which seemed to surprise Spicer.
“Did that tell you anything about your man that you didn’t previously know?” she asked.
“Well, I think we’ve all said things in private, which that was, that are inappropriate –” Spicer responded, not answering her question.
“Have you said things like that?” Maitlis interjected.
Spicer did not answer the question.
At one point Spicer resorted to insisting that his job was to promote the policies and beliefs of President Donald Trump, and suggested that it was his job to lie. Previous White House press secretaries have stated it is not, in fact, their job to lie.
At the end of the interview Maitlis discusses Spicer’s resignation, and asks if he did so “because you felt it was starting to corrode your soul, or you didn’t think it was going well, or you didn’t think you were doing it very well, would you work for him again?”
Watch Spicer’s full BBC News interview: