Sean Spicer, Citing Selfie Requests, Reportedly Thinks He's Worth More Than Customary $30K Speaking Fee
Sean Spicer allegedly thinks his new gig on the private speaker circuit is going to be very lucrative.
News broke Tuesday that the former White House press secretary has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group, a professional services firm with a roster of paid talent that includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren.
Although the company declined to say how much Spicer would be paid per speech, the 45-year-old reportedly met with another agent before signing with Worldwide Speakers Group — telling the agent he was worth more than the $20,000 to $30,000 going rate given for speeches by most former White House press secretaries.
“He thought he was a much bigger deal than the others,” the unnamed agent recalled to Axios in a report published Wednesday. “His name I.D. is massive — he’s obsessed with that.”
According to the agent, Spicer repeated “one of his go-to-lines” that “everyone stops him for selfies” multiple times as an example of why he deserved more compensation.
For what it’s worth, the agent couldn’t debate Spicer’s photographic popularity. “It happened when I was talking to him,” the agent told Axios.
Spicer certainly became a high-profile figure during his short time in President Donald Trump’s administration — characterized by his brash attitude, gum eating and tendency toward malapropism in a popular Saturday Night Live impersonation by Oscar winner Melissa McCarthy.
His tenure in the White House was tumultuous from Day One, when he came under fire back in January for lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration, erroneouslyclaiming that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
Controversy dogged Spicer ever since. In March, he scolded veteran White House correspondent April Ryan for shaking her head after she asked a question related to Trump’s connections to Russia. The next month, 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 and seemed to give credit to the Nazi leader for being someone who “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Asked later to clarify his comments on Hitler, Spicer backpedaled and told ABC News’ Cecilia 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, apparently grasping for what to call the Nazi concentration camps.
That “Holocaust Center” comment would be widely mocked by users on social media. Users even jumped on reports that “Spicey” had hid from reporters “among” the bushes in May after the president had fired FBI Director James Comey — transforming his head-turning dodge of reporters in the White House driveway into one of the internet’s most spreadable memes.
It’s that viral popularity that had flooded Spicer with a slew of offers, Axios reported — noting that he’s especially popular in Europe, where he said he’s been offered paid appearances on TV shows in Ireland and the U.K.
“The U.S. press briefing had become part of their nightly viewing,” Spicer told Axios. “It was a prime-time show from Europe to the Middle East … I’m one of the most popular guys in Ireland.”
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While it’s hasn’t been a week since Spicer officially left the White House (he resigned in July over the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci, but stayed on through Aug. 31), the former Republican National Committee chief strategist is also apparently considering lucrative consultancies, Hollywood productions, and a book deal on lessons learned about crisis communications, Axios reports.
The one thing Spicer told Axios he won’t be doing is writing a tell-all book. When asked if he regretted anything from his time on the job, the press secretary dodged.
“You should read the book,” he told the site.
That answer should please Trump, who praised Spicer upon his exit from the White House.
“A wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the Fake News Media,” Trump tweeted. “But his future is bright!”