Spicer lands post-White House gig
President Donald Trump’s former press secretary will go on the paid speaking circuit.
By ANNIE KARNI
Sean Spicer is cashing in on “candor.”
President Donald Trump’s first press secretary — who ceded his high-profile post to Sarah Huckabee Sanders in July but celebrated his official last day in the West Wing on Aug. 31 — has signed with Worldwide Speakers Group.
“Audiences around the world will benefit from the same candor, wit and insight that Spicer brought to the White House briefing room,” Worldwide Speakers Group writes about Spicer in its pitch to potential customers.
But at his first briefing in January, Spicer falsely claimed the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was bigger than President Barack Obama’s crowd eight years earlier, despite photographic evidence to the contrary — and then refused to take questions from reporters. In July, CNN preemptively said it would not hire Spicer, citing credibility issues related to that and other false statements made from the podium.
Spicer’s tenure in the White House often put him in what seemed to be an impossible position, being forced to defend claims by the president for which there was no basis in fact. But he remains in high demand on the speaking circuit, in part as an inside player with a unique vantage point on a historic election and on the opening months of the Trump presidency.
His first paid speaking gig will be in New York City on Sept. 11, at the annual conference of the investment bank Rodman & Renshaw, according to two people familiar with his schedule.
A spokesman for Worldwide Speakers Group said in a statement: “We are thrilled to provide Sean for our major trade association, corporate, university and public lecture series customers around the world. With his well-known candor and extensive experience, Sean is uniquely qualified to help audiences understand how the political environment will impact them now and in the future.”
The spokesman declined to comment on how much Spicer would be paid per speech. Spicer declined to comment for this story.
After the story was published early Monday morning, the speakers’ bureau deleted any mention of “candor” from Spicer’s online bio. Instead, the pitch to customers was edited to read: “everybody knows Sean Spicer,” and included a mention of his “trademark style behind the White House podium.”
Delivering paid speeches — the lucrative and well-trod pasture of former lawmakers and their name-brand aides — will be one of the main components of Spicer’s post-White House life, according to multiple people briefed on his plans. But he is also planning to pitch a book proposal and, as of last week, his agent, Robert Barnett, was making the rounds to networks to negotiate a possible deal for his client. So far, Spicer has yet to nail down a paid television talking-head gig.
For months, agents in Washington have been playing the guessing game about who would be the first Trump insider to cash in on a book about the administration. In a saturated news environment, it is not exactly clear what that book would be.
“This is simultaneously the most opaque and the most transparent administration in history,” said Keith Urbahn, whose company, Javelin, represents former FBI Director James Comey and Democratic operative Donna Brazile. “There are not a lot of secrets. They are leaked every day in the newspapers. So you really have to think through what the book is, because publishing into a news cycle like this is a challenge.”