Spicer on Trump's tariffs, 'Joe Trudeau' and SNL
Published Sunday, June 10, 2018 10:00PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2018 10:18AM EDT
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer is speaking out on everything from Trump’s trade spat with Canada, the inauguration crowd size debacle, and what it felt like to be lampooned by Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live.
In a Canadian exclusive interview with CTV’s Richard Madan ahead of the release of his new book, Spicer says that he doesn’t think a trade war is good for the economy, although he “gets the tactic” by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I think whether it comes to the tariffs or NAFTA, I would hope that we could find a solution as soon as possible,” he says. “I don’t think it’s in our economy’s best interest, either.”
Spicer says NAFTA needs “substantial reforms to modernize it.”
“By and large, it’s been a good agreement for our country but there are a lot of people left out,” he adds.
‘I was called a liar’
Spicer also responds to the allegation that he lied when he said in January, 2017 that Trump drew the “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” – a claim that was easily contradicted. Spicer says his claim was based on the best information he had available at the time.
“Remember, it’s the Saturday of a three-day weekend after inauguration,” he explains. “I mean every federal worker that was part of the inauguration had worked their heart out to put on this peaceful transformation of government that we so proudly celebrate in this country. There wasn’t a ton of people at 8:30 who were around and available to take the call.”
“Frankly,” he adds, “it was our first, not even real day, I didn't know who to call, so we were piecing together everything we can on the fly.”
Spicer also takes aim at the media, claiming there’s a “double standard.”
“When you guys make mistakes on your side or when you get new information, you call it an update,” he says. “I was (called) a liar.”
On calling PM Trudeau ‘Joe’
Spicer also suggests he should be forgiven for the famous gaffe made in February, 2017, when he referred to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “Joe Trudeau” at a daily White House press briefing.
“I know that Justin Trudeau is the prime minister of Canada. But when you’re trying to remember every prime minister and president’s and deputy prime minister’s name who might be in the orbit, yeah, once in a while ... you juxtapose a name or get a fact wrong,” he says.
On Saturday Night Live
Spicer also shares his feelings on what it was like to be played by Melissa McCarthy on the comedy show “Saturday Night Live.”
“It’s weird because I grew up as a working class kid,” he says. “On Saturday nights, you’d watch Saturday Night Live: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, all of these amazing actors and actresses that portrayed people that had become iconic for different reasons in our country. And to think that there you are on screen is just something I don’t think I ever fathomed.”
He adds that McCarthy is a “talented actor” and although some of the skits were “funny” others, he believes, were “over the top and mean.”
Trump is 'his own best communicator'
Spicer says that during his time in the White House Trump did write his own tweets, apart from some scripted ones about events, for example.
“Back in the residence, usually in the evening or early in the morning, those are 100 per cent him,” he says.
Spicer admits his job wasn’t easy and says he was often surprised about something the boss had said or done.
“Most press secretaries, most communicators, a main part of their job is to give advice to the principal,” he says. “Donald Trump is his own best communicator.”
With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan in Washington