White House press secretary Sean Spicer delivers his first statement in the Brady press briefing room at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017. SHAWN THEW / EPA

Sean Spicer ‘spent several minutes hidden in the bushes’

There are plenty of popular political television shows set in Washington, D.C. – “Scandal,” “House of Cards,” “Madam Secretary,” etc. – and for people who’ve never worked in Beltway politics, it’s only natural to wonder which shows best capture real life.

The answer, of course, is “Veep.” In fact, it’s not even a close call.

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Last night at the White House, for example, Press Secretary Sean Spicer didn’t seem altogether prepared for reporters’ questions about his boss firing the FBI director for reasons that don’t make sense. The Washington Post captured the scene:
After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the bushes behind these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so. Spicer then emerged.

“Just turn the lights off. Turn the lights off,” he ordered. “We’ll take care of this…. Can you just turn that light off?”

Spicer got his wish and was soon standing in near darkness between two tall hedges, with more than a dozen reporters closely gathered around him. For 10 minutes, he responded to a flurry of questions, vacillating between light-hearted asides and clear frustration with getting the same questions over and over again.
[Update: See Below]

Let that sink in for a minute: the chief spokesperson for the president of the United States hid in the bushes, only to emerge after journalists agreed to talk to him in “near darkness.”

If we saw this on HBO, we’d laugh at the absurdity. Knowing that it happened in reality, it’s a lot less funny.

The Washington Post recently added “democracy dies in darkness” to its masthead. I had no idea that would turn out to be so literal.

Update: The Washington Post has now clarified that Spicer was “huddled with his staff among bushes,” instead of being “in the bushes.” To the extent that this distinction matters, there you go.

White House

Sean Spicer 'spent several minutes hidden in the bushes'