People are talking seriously about Sean Spicer possibly losing his job over his remarks yesterday. Who knows what will happen? But this drama is infinitely emblematic of everything about this White House. Mainly because this whole drama is entirely self-inflicted and ridiculous. I see no sense here that Spicer inadvertently let slip his true feelings – a so-called “Kinsley Gaffe”, inadvertently telling the truth. There are lots of people in this White House with dark and malevolent attitudes toward Jews. I see no reason to believe Spicer is one of them. This was just a clumsy and ridiculous, an entirely self-inflicted injury which Spicer was too clownish to avoid and too ridiculous to clean up.
While we’re on this topic though, remember when the White House put out a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day which made no mention of Jews? No one stumbled into that. That was planned and considered and intentional. There was no apology or even real explanation, though Spicer was obliged to try to clean up that mess too. He called criticism of the statement “nit-picking.” A Russian emigre staffer of Jewish origin, Boris Epshteyn, was put forward as the supposed author. Whether this was true is impossible to know. He’s now left the White House, though there was never any explanation that he left at all, let alone why or where he went.
This White House has the unique feature of both having a number of high profile Jewish appointees and an uncharacteristically large number of notoriously anti-Semitic appointees. That only adds to Spicer’s problems, though I think Spicer is one of the relatively few non-Jewish and non-anti-Semitic appointees.
The biggest story here isn’t that Spicer is an anti-Semite (not remotely) or even insensitive. It’s just that he’s not remotely competent and in fairness has to speak for an administration that constantly changes policy and frequently lies. It would be a hard job for anyone and he’s clearly not up to it in any case.