Who is Sean Spicer and what does he really think of Donald Trump?

The White House press secretary's early brushes with the media, his views on Mexicans – and the time he was the Easter bunny

Sean Spicer
(Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, has an impressive career behind him but has made a series of blunders since the new president took office…

What is his background?

After growing up in Rhode Island and graduating from Connecticut College, Spicer worked on a number of political campaigns in the 1990s

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and joined the US Navy Reserve as a public affairs officer. He was later communications director for the Republican Conference of the House of Representatives and founded his own public relations firm. In 2011, he became communications director of the Republican National Committee and was named White House press secretary on 22 December last year.

Although the 45-year-old's career has meant working closely with the press, he has become known for his brushes with the news media. This goes back to his school days at Connecticut College, says the New York Times, when the student paper named him as "Sean Sphincter", prompting him to write an angry letter to the editor.

What does he think of Trump?

When Trump first announced he was running for president in 2015 and accused Mexican immigrants of "bringing drugs" into the US and being "rapists", Spicer told CNN: "As far as painting Mexican-Americans with that kind of brush, I think it's not helpful to the cause."

He also criticised the future president for claiming that John McCain was "no war hero", saying the Senator had "sacrificed more than most can imagine" and "there is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honourably".

As for the President's view on his press secretary, CNN reported last month that he was "disappointed in Spicer's performance" and was looking to "lighten [his] load". However, other officials have claimed Trump supports Spicer "100 per cent".

Why has he attracted so much attention?

Spicer's time in office got off to a bad start when he declared the inauguration had attracted the "largest audience ever" and then attacked journalists when they showed that the claim was false.

He has also called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "Joe", accidentally tweeted a set of characters that looked suspiciously like a password and repeatedly referred to a terrorist attack that never happened.

His actions brought him to the attention of US sketch show Saturday Night Live, where he was personified by Gilmore Girls star Melissa McCarthy.


"She got the mannerisms down pat: the pugnacious fighter's scowl, the verbal gaffes and nonsensical spin tactics, the scorn sprayed indiscriminately at the press corps," says the New Yorker.

Spicer himself took the sketch in good humour. "It was cute, it was funny," he said. "But she could dial it back a bit."

Most recently, photographs emerged of Spicer dressed up as the Easter bunny at a White House Easter Egg Roll. Standing next to former president George W Bush in 2009, the press secretary unwittingly provided the internet with an early Easter gift.

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Rather than shying away from the unexpected limelight, Spicer tweeted: "The good ole days - what I would give to hide in a bunny costume again."

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