PR pros on Twitter declared White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s credibility dead—just one press conference into his tenure—after he misrepresented the turnout Saturday at President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Spicer’s case wasn’t helped by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s line on Meet the Press on Sunday morning that he was just presenting "alternative facts."
Ari Fleisher, press secretary for President George W. Bush, tried to stand up for Spicer, noting on Twitter that he was merely following Trump’s orders. However, Fleisher’s tweet was quickly attacked by Jay Carney, President Barack Obama’s spokesman, who said Spicer’s performance was "not normal."
Former White House comms director and senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, now VP for comms and policy at GoFundMe, also weighed in, stating in a tweet that Spicer’s flub over the weekend is a "bad start."
White House Press Secretaries are only effective as long as they have credibility with the White House Press, so this is a bad start— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) January 21, 2017
Here’s what other comms pros, from political backgrounds and otherwise, had to say about Spicer’s whoppers.
A War You Will Not Win https://t.co/Oltux2pMAQ— Gary Sheffer (@garysheffer) January 22, 2017
Sean Spicer lacks the guts or integrity to refuse orders to go out and lie. He is a failure in this job on his first full day.— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) January 21, 2017
From this point forward, nothing the White House press secretary says is to be trusted https://t.co/TyDtBxeknp— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) January 21, 2017
Counseled many orgs on how to conduct a press conf & have never recommended angry, confrontational or threatening as an approach with media.— brad (@macafee) January 22, 2017
I work in political PR. I spin all the time. What Sean Spicer did today was Soviet-style propaganda mixed with lugenpresse Nazi tactics.— Eric Schmeltzer (@JustSchmeltzer) January 22, 2017
Hey #PR students, don't ever do what Sean Spicer did today. Ever.— Brian Hart (@BrianHartPR) January 22, 2017
Catching up with Spicer's antics: setting PR's cause back decades.If it wasn't so depressing it'd make a great political satire #SpicerFacts— Daniel Reynolds (@DanielReynolds4) January 23, 2017
Listening to Trump spokesperson Spicer was painful for this PR pro. He was angry, went negative, skirted fact & didn't answer q's #prfail— Marisa Bluestone (@MarisaBluestone) January 22, 2017
Sean Spicer is an embarassment to PR people worldwide. The media are our allies not our enemies.— Peter Ashworth (@AshworthPR) January 22, 2017
As a communications professional, I'm troubled by Spicer's press briefing. First shots across the bow right from the podium. #PostTruth— Barry Waite (@Toronto_PR_Guy) January 21, 2017