Sean Spicer Defends Inauguration Crowd Briefing, Bemoans the ‘Mooch’ With Jimmy Kimmel

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency, Sean Spicer made a name for himself as a staunch defender of his boss’ tweets and beliefs

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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sean Spicer, the embattled former White House press secretary forever immortalized as "Spicey," made his post-administration TV debut on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Wednesday night, walking onstage to thunderous applause and cheers. 

"If I knew I was gonna get that kind of applause, I would have left earlier," Spicer quipped, seeming to welcome the relief from his previous audience, the White House press corps. 

From the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency in January, Spicer made a name for himself as a staunch defender of his boss's tweets and beliefs, resulting in frequent, heated scuffles with reporters — as well as ratings-boosting news clips and comedy fodder. 

And host Jimmy Kimmel wasted no time confronting Spicer about perhaps the most memorable briefing he hosted from his podium. 

"Your first-ever press conference … it’s the day after the inauguration, and you are charged with the job (of) saying that the inauguration crowd was the biggest crowd, I think, ever," Kimmel recounted. 

"Yes, I’m aware of it," Spicer said laughing along with the rest of the studio. "I appreciate the reminder of how it went down." 

Both Spicer and Kimmel giggled at the blast from the past, leading the late night host to get really personal with the former press secretary. 

"Why is he [Trump] so concerned with size?" Kimmel asked. "Have you ever seen the president naked?" 

"I have not," Spicer admitted. 

Despite the jokes, Spicer made one thing seriously clear: his job was to "represent the president’s voice." 

"Your job as press secretary is … to make sure that you are articulating what he believes … whether or not you agree or not isn’t your job. Your job is to give him advice, which is what we would do on a variety of issues all the time," Spicer explained, adding that Trump would sometimes agree with that advice and sometimes stick with his own beliefs. 

"And then you have to march out there and go, 'Yeah, he had a bigger crowd, everybody!'" Kimmel said jokingly. 

"As I said, he’s the president," Spicer said, doubling down. "He decides." 

Kimmel pressed on: "Do you think that is what got you off to kind of a bad start with the press corps?" 

"I don’t think it was probably the best start," Spicer said.

Spicer’s tense, gaffe-filled time working for Trump came to an end when he resigned in July. (He formally left the White House in August.) Anthony Scaramucci, who went on to make his own slew of headlines, had just been brought on as the communications director. 

Spicer had said he wanted to give the team a "fresh start" with its new leader, and he insisted to Kimmel that he didn’t leave over a personal beef with Scaramucci. However, he did say he thought "The Mooch" was unqualified for the communications role. 

Less than two weeks later, Scaramucci appeared in a fiery, profanity-laden interview with The New Yorker, slamming his White House colleagues. "The Mooch" was let go shortly after the viral article. 

When asked about the outburst, Spicer didn’t want to "relish in someone else's problems," but he told Kimmel it "proved my point."

Kimmel continued to muse over facets of Spicer’s White House tenure, which included "fake news" and Trump's unapproved tweets — all things that paved the way for Melissa McCarthy’s popular "Saturday Night Live" character "Spicey," which recently won her an Emmy.

When asked about the now-iconic parody, the real Spicer, who had previously criticized the act as "over the line," relented. 

"That was kinda funny," he said chuckling.

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