After months of being lampooned last year on “Saturday Night Live,” Sean Spicer made his debut on the show’s stage on Wednesday — in Chicago.
The ex-White House press secretary sat down on a replica of the iconic stage that’s part of a new “SNL” exhibit at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, where Spicer was in town to talk about his new book, The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President.
“That’s the closest I’ll get to a standing ovation on this stage,” said Spicer, who recalled being bombarded with text messages and phone calls in the aftermath of Plainfield-born comedian Melissa McCarthy’s first turn portraying him.
“It was a combination of a laugh and an, ‘Oh my God, I’m screwed,’ “ Spicer said.
President Donald Trump was not as entertained, he said.
“He did not think it was that funny. Melania did.”
Spicer’s book offers a glowing portrait of President Donald Trump during Spicer’s brief tenure as the first official voice of the Trump White House. Spicer had a notoriously contentious relationship with the press and quit last summer just six months into Trump’s presidency.
“I don’t think we will ever again see a candidate like Donald Trump,” he writes. “He is a unicorn, riding a unicorn over a rainbow.”
Spicer bemoaned the lack of positive coverage of Trump, recalling the president offering warm condolences to him after his father passed away.
“I think he can be very empathetic and caring and concerned. That isn’t something that necessarily gets across to most people,” Spicer said.
Spicer did not take many pointed questions in the talk hosted by nationally syndicated talkshow host Bruce DuMont and conservative talk station WIND 560 AM. Asked if Trump could’ve won the election without indicted ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Spicer said yes.
“There are times the process could’ve been slowed down. The outcome would’ve been the same.”
In the book, Spicer acknowledges making “a bad first impression” during his first press briefing when he made his now-ridiculed declaration that Trump’s inauguration was the most widely seen in history.
On Wednesday he called that a “particularly painful” moment for him, along with the aftermath of his false claim that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons, which drew widespread condemnation from the families of Holocaust survivors.
“When you screw up, you’re screwing up on the world stage,” he said. “I cannot begin to tell you how personally painful that was.”