He was there to provide expertise, Sean Spicer was, to give the behind-the-scenes story and need-to-know material, or something. Anyway, there was the former White House communicator Spicer at Madame Tussauds on 42nd Street Wednesday morning, to unveil a wax figure of first lady Melania Trump.
Tis the season of Melania, she of the wide-brimmed white hat and finger-wiggle out of President Donald Trump’s reaching grasp. Melania, who coordinated a state dinner as news continues to develop about the alleged other women in her husband’s life. Melania: What is she thinking? (That’s what the first lady herself once infamously tweeted along with this picture of a sea creature.)
So again, here was Spicer, back to reluctantly tilt at the windmills of factual discourse anew. “I thought I gave this up,” Spicer said softly when he entered the room where journalists waited to watch Melania’s likeness be unveiled. Cameras clicked, because he hadn’t quite given it up yet. He was here to tell us something about that enigma Melania, who reluctantly has been thrust into the spotlight and sometimes seems as if she’s trapped within it. What would Spicer say?
He dished: Melania has “impeccable taste.” She is “very caring and gracious.” She’s also “very gracious and caring.” When Spicer left the White House, Melania said goodbye to him. “Those are the kind of interactions that mean a lot.”
This was Madame Tussauds, folks, where you’re supposed to be able to get up close and personal with the stars — to put an arm around Kate and William, to bend down and greet Gandhi, to sit at Don Draper’s desk and take a selfie and learn something about celebrities, perhaps finding, they’re not unlike you. Small placards on the walls provide little tidbits, such as the fact that Sofia Vergara trained to become a dentist before acting.
But Spicer provided little of substance about his subject. A marketing executive representing Madame Tussauds somewhat desperately tried to get something, anything, specific out of Spicer about the first lady represented in wax. Instead, Spicer’s old tendency toward big grandiose statements, if not hyperbole, beckoned.
“She really has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on politically,” Spicer said. She’s “very well-read.” When some reporters snuck in questions about the Trumps’ marital relationship, Spicer claimed he never saw Melania mad at the president. She is a “great, supportive spouse.”
Perhaps the ghosts of wildly affirmative statements past were zipping through Spicer’s head — his defense of Trump’s untruths about fraudulent voting in the 2016 election. His faulty assertions about the relative size of Trump’s win, or the number of inauguration attendees on the National Mall.
But that’s all over for Spicer now. Those uncomfortable White House podium days? He’s beyond that. He’s doing “a lot of consulting behind the scene for folks.” He’s got some entertainment projects going. And oh, he has this book coming out, “The Briefing,” on-sale in July, available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Asked if there’s anything he regrets that he’d like to get off his chest, Spicer said: “My regret would be not to tell you to buy the book.” We’ve come a long way from Nathan Hale. The book’s cover was, funny coincidence, unveiled on Wednesday, too.
Actually, Spicer had lots more to say about that book than about Melania.
But everyone’s selling something these days. Maybe “The Briefing” will contain some bona fide facts or stories, what used to be considered the stock-in-trade of the government spokesman or -woman. Maybe it will tell us something we don’t know about the Trump White House, about the principals who found their way into it and how they go about their daily, wildly impactful lives.
But probably it will just be wax figures.