"The judges made the right decision," former White House press secretary Sean Spicer told PEOPLE
On Monday night, the former White House press secretary was officially eliminated from the competition series and revealed that he had “mixed” emotions following the end of his DWTS run.
Speaking with PEOPLE, Spicer, 48, said he’s both “relieved in a way” and “somewhat disappointed” to be going home.
“The judges made the right decision on a night where you had two dances,” he said. “The scores were going to be very difficult to overcome.”
He also took time to thank the fans who voted for him, addressing the backing he’s received from his former employer, President Donald Trump, and his son, Donald Trump, Jr.
“It means a lot,” Spicer said of Trump’s support. “I appreciate his support and his continued friendship. It means a tremendous amount to me to know that he’s taking time to put his support out there. I thank him for that.”
Prior to his elimination, President Trump, 73, asked his Twitter followers to vote for Spicer, posting in a since-deleted tweet, “Vote for Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars. He is a great and very loyal guy who is working very hard. He is in the quarterfinals — all the way with Sean! #MAGA #KAG.”
His 41-year-old son, meanwhile, had slammed Democrats before Monday’s episode, telling Extra, “If the Democrats can’t get Sean Spicer off Dancing with the Stars, how are they going to win 2020?”
“There’s been a tremendous amount of support that’s kept me out of the bottom two the last nine weeks and I’ve truly been humbled by how many people have taken time out of their Monday nights to keep me going,” Spicer told PEOPLE when asked about Don Jr.’s comments. “I will look back on this as an amazing experience.”
Spicer — who said he lost 20 lbs. during the competition — was in the bottom two on Monday’s DWTS, alongside fellow contestant Lauren Alaina.
During the judges’ verdict in the final moments of the live show, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli both agreed that country star Alaina, 25, should proceed in the competition, ultimately sending Spicer home.
And making things that much harder for the DWTS competitor, Spicer’s pro dancing partner, Lindsay Arnold, missed both last week and Monday night’s competition due to the “unexpected” death of her mother-in-law (he danced instead with pro-dancer Jenna Johnson).
“I’m glad that she’s at home with her family. That’s where she should be,” he said. “Obviously there’s a bit of disappointment that I’m not here with her, but I know how much she loves Jenna. It’s definitely a mixed thing. I want to see her again in the finale. I know how proud she’s been that we’ve gotten as far as we have.”
Spicer also revealed that Arnold had reached out to him since she has been away from the show.
“She was very proud of how far I’ve come,” he explained. “Obviously a little disappointed she couldn’t be here, but just so so proud that we were here tonight in the quarter-finals.”
Spicer’s time on DWTS has been controversial since he was cast on this season of the series. (The political aide was widely disparaged after he used the White House press podium to lie to and attack journalists during his tenure; he resigned in 2017.)
Since the second elimination, Spicer was consistently given the lowest scores from the judges — though remained on the show due to fan votes, beating out stronger competitors like Karamo Brown and Kate Flannery.
After his debut episode in September, Spicer said that he had expected backlash for joining DWTS and hoped that viewers could “put every policy and politics aside” while watching the show.
“I’ve been living this for a while. I expect it,” he said at the time. “We are where we are as a country, but if people could tune in tonight and say, ‘Look at this diverse cast. They’re rooting for each other, they’re having a blast with each other,’ and we can for two hours put every policy and politics aside and root for different people, have fun and relax, then that’s what we should do more of.”
And though his time on the series has come to an end, Spicer told PEOPLE that he’s hoping to keep up the dancing.
“I’ve enjoyed this tremendously and this wasn’t exactly on my radar to begin with, so let’s see what comes up next,” he said.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.