The press is getting its first taste of life after Spicer. They're liking it.
Is Sean Spicer — heroic defender of traditional ice cream, staunch ally of the gum lobby, speaker of hard un-truths — on the outs with President Donald Trump?
The press secretary is apparently pulling Navy Reserve duty, so he's been absent from the press room this week while deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tries her darndest to defend the president.
But there's some speculation that Spicer's absence won't be temporary. Trump — engulfed in what appears to be the biggest scandal of a young presidency rife with them — is reportedly considering banishing Spicer to the bushes forever.
In her time filling in as Trump's spokeswoman, Sanders hasn't departed from the administration's message — that people need to stop obsessing over Russia, and that former FBI Director James Comey was sacked because he'd committed "atrocities."
But because she's managed to face the press without salad in her teeth and flying into a blind rage, some reporters who cover the White House seem to be feeling better about Sanders than they do about Spicer — at least a little bit.
Though it's easy to make jokes at the noted Venmo user's expense — for instance, about that one time he seemingly tweeted his Twitter password — Spicer has actually changed the way the press covers the White House in his short time as press secretary. He's had a unique willingness to bend, evade and attack the truth on his boss's behalf — and he's been notable for giving questions to media outlets outside the mainstream.
But he's also been prone to gaffes — including an instance in which he made a bizarre, ahistorical assertion that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical attacks like Syrian President Bashar Assad during the Holocaust.
After Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, Spicer apparently hid "among" the bushes to avoid the media, providing needed comic relief for a nation tense amid speculation that Trump canned Comey to shut down the FBI investigation into the president's campaign ties to Russia.
But Trump apparently doesn't see it as a laughing matter. Spicer has reportedly been "benched," and Trump apparently believes he handled the situation after Comey's termination "poorly." Though Sanders is not likely to change the White House's messaging, she seems to be in stark contrast to Spicer in terms of packaging.