White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has been lurking in the shadows recently, pulling President Donald Trump’s puppet strings from afar. However, he spoke out to share some interesting insight about press secretary Sean Spicer’s gradual disappearance from press briefings.
After reports surfaced that Spicer's role would soon change and he's searching for his own replacement, Bannon told Rosie Gray of The Atlantic that “Sean got fatter” as an explanation for why recent press briefings have been held off-camera.
When Gray asked a follow-up question, Bannon reportedly did not respond.
The press secretary typically holds daily, on-camera briefings, but this administration has restricted its communication with the press more rigorously. Before holding a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Spicer had not addressed reporters on camera since last Monday.
Instead, the White House has opted to hold off-camera “gaggles” during which the press is prohibited from broadcasting video or audio of Spicer’s responses.
Spicer has made many blunders while speaking on behalf of the president, including falsely claiming that Trump had the largest inauguration turnout of any of his predecessors, using a fake terror attack to justify the president’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, and rewriting history by claiming that Adolf Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons, except for in his “Holocaust centers.”
Additionally, he became the laughing stock of the country after reports surfaced that he hid “among” bushes outside the White House to avoid answering questions about the termination of former FBI Director James Comey.
With these gaffes in mind, it makes perfect sense that Spicer would be urged to fall back from the spotlight as he is, clearly, not doing his job very well. As a result, his briefings have become shorter and his answers more evasive.
As far as Bannon using a quip about Spicer’s weight to dodge Gray’s questions, well, that just seems to be an instance of the pot calling the kettle black.
Chelsea Clinton weighed in on Bannon's body-shaming remarks as she took to Twitter to criticize the White House for using this excuse to justify its lack of transparency.
The White House using fat shaming to justify increased opacity. 2017. https://t.co/pWqupoAOXu— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 20, 2017
When a White House correspondent for Breitbart News responded to Clinton, asserting that Bannon was only joking, she reiterated the fact that it's still unacceptable.
It’s a joke people… https://t.co/2mMNcX7GHY— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) June 20, 2017
Oh ok. So using fat shaming to avoid answering questions about increasing opacity. Got it. 2017. https://t.co/RbUSc6ipZS— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) June 20, 2017
In any case, Bannon's inability to at least pretend to put up a united front for the public further indicates that the Trump administration is in shambles.