Sean Spicer doesn’t need the bushes anymore.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders had just wrapped up her daily briefing when her gleeful predecessor came bounding up the White House driveway Thursday afternoon. He had been in meetings off campus, he said, and hadn’t been able to catch his old show on television.
A departing press secretary with what appears to be at least a mild case of senioritis, smiling Spicer also didn’t have much to say about the latest, drama-filled episode of "As The White House Turns.”
Why is nobody defending chief of staff Reince Priebus — Spicer’s former boss at the Republican National Committee — in the face of online and on television attacks from the new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, that he is a “leaker”?
"Today’s not the best day to ask me,” Spicer punted, as he cruised by the permanent television cameras stationed on the White House lawn. “I’m catching up in real time.”
After a beat, he threw a scrap to his former ally, adding, “He’s done a great job helping to implement the president’s agenda."
Does Spicer support how Scaramucci is doing the job of communicating for the president so far? Spicer laughed. "I don’t think Anthony needs me critiquing him. He’s got a clean slate to implement the president’s agenda."
Did he have any defense of Trump’s Twitter announcement Wednesday that transgender individuals would be barred from serving in the military?
“You can ask Sarah,” he said. It’s no longer, really, his problem.
But he’s also still here, planning to stay on for another month, existing happily in a floating space where the pressures of one demanding job are over and the stress of whatever comes next are still a big, and probably lucrative, question mark.
Minutes after his hustle up the driveway, Spicer was spotted in an East Room ceremony, where the president awarded the Medal of Valor to the police officers who responded to the shooting last month of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Spicer later told POLITICO he’s still here because he wants to ensure a smooth transition of the communications department, even though it’s not clear what his title is now — Sanders last week was named press secretary — and he is spending some of his workday hours lining up his next gig.
Spicer was just back from a whirlwind day in New York City, meeting with network executives about what might come next. “This is the phase where you just say ‘Hi’ to everybody,” he said, noting there was no discussion of money or offers of employment.
“I’m not going to tell you that,” he said of whether he might be a future contestant of “Dancing with the Stars,” a possibility that came up on Wednesday in his meeting with ABC. Spicer still occupies his old office, complete with a couch and a fireplace, while Scaramucci, for now, operates out of a smaller, more modest office two doors down.
Spicer was greeted by reporters departing from the briefing room, some of whom thanked him for putting in his time — a once combative relationship turned friendly and jokey in its final hurrah.
One reporter extended, as a chewy olive branch, a packet of cinnamon gum, Spicer’s addiction made famous by comedian Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live.”
Another one pitched him an idea for a memorable send-off.
“Invite Melissa McCarthy to come with you and jointly do a farewell,” the reporter said.
“Uh huh,” he responded. “Thank you. I’ll keep that in mind.”