In his new book, the former press secretary compares the embarrassing skits to playing in the NFL: "When you play in the NFL, you can’t complain about getting tackled."

By Sam Gillette
July 24, 2018 07:00 AM

Sean Spicer, the former press secretary for President Trump, is no longer hiding from reporters “among” the bushes. Instead, he wrote a memoir, The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President, out Tuesday, in which he reflects on his controversial time in the White House — including the moment he learned that he’d been impersonated by Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live.  

The 46-year-old, who resigned from his White House post on July 21, 2017, writes that he first learned he was the subject of the skit when he was at church with his family.

“Throughout the hour, while I sat in church, I heard the buzzing of my phone. Glancing down, I saw the screen fill with text messages. As soon as church let out, I looked down with horror to find Twitter ablaze with my name,” he writes. “What was it now? At first, I feared something truly terrible had happened.”

Sean Spicer
White House press secretary Sean Spicer calls on a member of the media during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Spicer discussed former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's tax overhaul plan and other topics.

When he got home, Spicer watched the skit that he’d taped on his DVR.

“Taking a deep breath, I went to the DVR and saw Melissa McCarthy wearing my suit, downing gum by the bucket (guilty as charged, but never at the lectern), and yelling at the media,” he writes. “I had no choice but to laugh. Like many SNL sketches, I think they milked it too long, but there was no denying it was funny.”

He adds, “The sketches kept coming, but they didn’t bother me. When you play in the NFL, you can’t complain about getting tackled.”

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer
Melissa McCarthy/Instagram

In his book, Spicer presents his perspective on numerous controversies that arose during his time as press secretary. Following President Trump’s inauguration, Spicer came under fire for lying about the size of the crowd — he drew harsh criticism for his own claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period” — and for scolding veteran White House correspondent April Ryan for shaking her head after she asked a question related to Trump’s Russia connections.

In April 2017, while condemning the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilians, Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, with the Trump spokesman seeming to credit the Nazi leader as someone who “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer
Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Asked later to clarify his comments on Hitler, Spicer backpedaled and told ABC News’ Cecila Vega, “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”

“He brought them into the Holocaust Center,” added Spicer, in an apparent reference to Nazi concentration camps. The term was later much-mocked on social media.

These types of epic gaffes were fodder for Melissa McCarthy’s SNL skits. In May 2017, she famously rolled down a New York City street wearing her “Spicey” costume while on a podium with wheels.

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer in N.Y.C.

RELATED VIDEO: Sean Spicer Says Melissa McCarthy’s SNL Impression of Him Was ‘Over the Line’

The sight brought joy to many passersby, some of whom took to Twitter to share clips and jokes.

In his book, Spicer doesn’t solely focus on pushing back against this and other, more serious, criticism. He also traces his personal journey to the White House and the loss of his father. During the presidential transition, Spicer’s father, Michael Spicer, passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. 

“There were times I wished my dad had lived long enough to see me at the White House,” Spicer writes, “and there were times, I must admit, when I was glad he did not.”