According to a new report from the Washington Post, Trump shot down speculation that Spicer might lose his job over a string of problems and mistakes as the administration’s highest-profile spokesman.
“I’m not firing Sean Spicer. That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in,” the president said, according to the Post, quoting someone familiar with the president’s conversation over a working lunch at the White House in March.
Trump, 70, even likened Spicer’s daily news briefings to a soap opera, claiming they got nearly as many viewers.
Spicer has become known for his combative nature during his briefings for the White House press corps, which are often covered live on C-SPAN and other cable news networks. Since assuming the role in January, he’s come under fire for lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration — he drew harsh criticism for his own claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period” — and scolding veteran White House correspondent April Ryan for shaking her head after she asked a question related to Trump’s connections to Russia.
RELATED VIDEO: Watch How the Real Sean Spicer Compares to Saturday Night Live‘s Parody
While condemning the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilians earlier this month, Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, with the Trump spokesman seeming to credit the Nazi leader Hitler as someone who “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Doubling down on his formal apology following that epic gaffe, Spicer told Politico that same afternoon that his comments about the Holocaust were a “straight up mistake” – but said he won’t be resigning.
“I made a mistake by trying to make a comparison that was completely wrong,” he said. “I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Spicer has also been parodied on Saturday Night Live by actress Melissa McCarthy. He said he learned about the sketch after receiving so many text messages he thought that “there was a national emergency or something really funny happening,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I think Melissa McCarthy needs to slow down on the gum chewing,” Spicer said. “Way too many pieces in there.”
“Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ‘swamped’ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to himself in the third person.
He added, “So much for…. being a movie star — and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary.”