Confronted with a quote in which he said he didn’t know if Donald Trump’s recently surfaced comments about groping women qualified as sexual assault, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told the Washington Post he “never said it.” A recording says otherwise.
Spicer first made the comments to the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack on Sunday after the second presidential debate, as McCormack pressed Trump’s backers to answer for a leaked “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump boasts about grabbing women “by the pussy.”
“I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer,” Spicer replied, when asked if the actions Trump described referred to sexual assault.
Spicer’s comments were widely reported, as were those of other Trump supporters like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who said he wouldn’t “characterize” the comments as assault.
When the Washington Post called to check his quote, Spicer denied uttering it.
“I never said it,” Spicer insisted.
Yet McCormack provided the Post with an audio recording in which a man who sounds like Spicer says those words verbatim, and other reporters in the spin room on Sunday, including BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray, say they too have audio of Spicer’s response.
In a follow-up, Spicer told the Post, “While I was asked question about a matter of law, it is never appropriate to touch anyone in an unwelcome manner.”