There may be no place cheerier, in the America of the present moment, than the Instagram feed of Sean Spicer. The former White House press secretary, embarking on the tour to promote his new book, The Briefing, has been, by all appearances, having a distinctly delightful time, and @seanmspicer has offered, post by post, evidence of all the delight. The feed is populated with various images of the indefatigable politico—#cantstopwontstop, he hashtags several of his grams—smiling from TV and radio studios, yukking with interviewers, hitching a ride on a private jet with Donald Trump, Jr., posing with Laura Ingraham, and appearing on the Today show in a mock-briefing room produced especially for the occasion. One of Spicer’s latest postings, a multi-image summary of the $250-a-head book party held for him in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday evening, eschews the #cantstopwontstop tag for a series of alternatives: #booklaunch #booktour #thankyou #day1 #biggestcrowdever #period.
There is, in all this hermetic merriment, a certain perversity—one that the BBC’s Emily Maitlis pointed out, when she pointedly reminded Spicer during an interview that “you have corrupted discourse for the entire world,” but one that American media outlets have, for the most part, studiously ignored. The awkward truth, however, is this: Spicer, in his brief tenure as the nation’s publicist-in-chief, regularly lied, blatantly and blithely, to the public. (#Biggestcrowdever. #Period.) And yet he has, in his post–White House career, found himself on the lucrative speaking circuit and at a lucrative super PAC and at Harvard’s prestigious Kennedy School. There’s been talk of a talk show. And, now, there’s the book and its requisite publicity tour, which together have relaunched Sean Spicer into the national attention span, not merely evading accountability for the lies but indeed directly benefiting from them. As Spicer told my colleague McKay Coppins, at his #booklaunch: “I’m having a blast and enjoying this, and frankly I’m blessed by the amount of opportunities that have come my way.”