Why Spicer made a cameo at the Emmys

Sean Spicer

One of biggest stars at this years Emmy Awards was something of a surprise, as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer made an appearance.

As host Stephen Colbert’s talk turned to political issues and the impact of Donald Trump, out came Spicer himself, including a rolling podium, to proclaim that “this is the largest audience to witness an Emmy Awards ceremony. Period. Both in person and around the world.”

There was clear surprise among the audience of TV stars to see Spicer appear in person to poke fun at himself. Just under eight months after Trump’s inauguration, his appearance in Los Angeles is telling.

Back in January, when Trump was inaugurated, the 45th president of the United States was brimming with political capital. He had won the Republican nomination despite being a party outsider, and went on to win the presidency against all the odds. He was at a high-water mark.

Spicer’s ill-fated assertion that Trump’s inauguration was the biggest ever was the start of a worrying trend. Becoming president wasn’t enough for Trump, who couldn’t stand the thought that Barack Obama had attracted a bigger crowd (it’s always about the ratings). So he sent Spicer out to lie.

Like many of Trump’s numerous falsehoods, Spicer’s famous first words on his first day on the job could easily be disproved. But what was Spicer to do? His job was to speak for the president, and the president wanted him to lie his face off, so he did it.

It got worse in the subsequent months, as his role was reduced to damage control after reckless presidential tweets, rather than presenting policy. Throughout it all, he never broke rank until Anthony Scaramucci was brought in, and Spicer refused to work for him.

President Trump’s fall from grace between Spicer’s first utterance of his fateful words and his satirical parody of them in LA is startling. Colbert admitted that there’s no bravery in Trump-bashing to an audience of liberal, coastal, Hollywood elite. But these days Trump has few friends at all, as even his usual allies in the conservative media being to turn on him.

Sensing which way the wind is blowing, Spicer appeared again behind a White House podium (or a mocked-up imitation thereof), this time trying to do some damage control to his own image.

Back in January, Spicer faced the American press to lie about the size of a crowd to show his commitment to the new president and hopefully hitch a ride on his coattails. By September he, like president Trump, is now a joke. By being able to laugh at himself, Spicer is showing that he is at least self-aware about it.

“Thank you, Melissa McCarthy,” Colbert quipped after Spicer’s bit. “Unlike the presidency, the Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote.”