When Sean Spicer appeared on the first hour of the Today show on Thursday morning, Savannah Guthrie asked him if he thinks President Trump is a “truthful” person. “I believe so,” he replied.
Two hours later, the former White House press secretary was back on NBC for a second interview—this time with former Fox News host Megyn Kelly. She spent pretty much all of their time together trying to get get Spicer, who has been promoting a new book and talk-show pilot, to admit the opposite.
Kelly began by asking Spicer if he feels any “empathy” for his replacement, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who just yesterday was tasked with “spinning the word no,” as Jimmy Kimmel put it. When he suggested that it “takes a lot of preparation on a daily basis” to do that job, Kelly shot back, “Critics would say it takes an ability to disassociated from the truth.”
The host took Spicer all the way back to the his first press briefing in January 2017, when he made the false declaration that “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period. Both in person and around the globe.” Despite the fact that Spicer has previously admitted he “regrets” those words, he would not concede to Kelly that it was a lie.
“I’m saying that I could have done that a heck of a lot better,” Spicer said. “But the point was that what we were conflating with the number of people stating one position versus what I was trying to do—and admittedly not well.”
“And not truthfully,” Kelly added to applause from her audience.
Asked later if he really believes Trump is a “truthful” person, Spicer hemmed and hawed about “hyperbole” and claimed the president “never lied” to his face about anything.
“But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t told many, many lies,” Kelly replied. “Just because the lie was not to your face doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I mean, Sean, you’re obviously dodging. Why can’t you just admit that he struggles with the truth?”