Ex White House press secretaries announce TV gigs
Two controversial former White House press secretaries are headed to new television jobs — with Sarah Sanders becoming the latest ex-administration official to join Fox News and Sean Spicer waltzing off to “Dancing with the Stars.”
The pair — who between them served as the public face of President Donald Trump’s government from his inauguration until July this year — will be seeking to boost their public personas after tenures during which they were berated at times for a lack of candor.
Sanders, 37, will provide political commentary and analysis for Fox News from September, the network said Thursday, after ABC announced that 47-year-old Spicer would feature in the new season of its flagship dance contest.
Sanders, who said she was “beyond proud” to join an “incredible stable of on-air contributors,” moves in the opposite direction of more than a dozen former Fox executives and contributors hired by Trump, including Bill Shine, K.T. McFarland and Heather Nauert.
Sanders and her predecessor were upbraided by critics who saw them as emblematic of a wider culture of dishonesty within the Trump administration, and liberal pundits voiced annoyance that they were being handed a chance at public rehabilitation.
Sanders, who had an adversarial relationship with a press corps she accused of spreading “fake news,” admitted to federal investigators during the Russia election inference probe that she had lied to reporters in a May 2017 press briefing.
“The news that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is joining Fox News is about as surprising as water flowing down hill,” tweeted former CBS news anchor Dan Rather.
Spicer, who resigned after six months of headline-making behavior at the start of the Trump administration, had an equally contentious relationship with the press pack.
He was mercilessly lampooned for the outlandish claim that Trump’s inauguration had been attended by “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period — both in person and around the globe.”
“For 6 months, Sean Spicer served as White House Press Secretary to the most vile ‘president’ in modern history,” tweeted Charlotte Clymer, a spokeswoman for Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ rights group.
“In that time, he repeatedly lied, obfuscated, and endorsed the badgering of a free press. He enabled hatred. He belongs on a public blacklist, not in a waltz.”
Spicer, who will appear alongside former NBA star Lamar Odom, actors James Van Der Beek and Christie Brinkley and “Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown, said he was hoping for “a politics-free zone.”
“My hope is that at the end of the season, (host Tom Bergeron) looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.