Sean Spicer’s cameo at the Emmys surprised everyone. I hand it to Stephen Colbert and the producers of the show. No one saw it coming. The shock of the former Trump press secretary’s bit, in which he was seemingly making fun of himself, led to many camera shots of celebrities laughing at his presence.
But not everyone was laughing at home.
Unsurprisingly there was mixed reaction online in the moments after Spicer’s appearance. There was outrage mixed with jovial responses. I suppose that is to be expected of our politically polarized world.
But we shouldn’t be laughing with Spicer. In what can only be an attempt to repair his public image, Spicer thought he could easily segue back into normalcy as if he were not the face of an administration that continues to harm those on the margins.
Spicer is the person who stood at the podium in the White House the day after the inauguration belligerently lying to us about the size of Trump’s crowd. He’s the person that used the phrase “holocaust centers” when describing the greatest human atrocity of the 20th Century.
Sean Spicer should not get the opportunity to just appear as if he was not an important cog in the Trump machine. He played an active role in the continued division of this country. He has defended the president at every turn.
Spicer isn’t alone. Anthony Scarmucci, Steve Bannon, and a host of others have since left their roles in Trump’s administration. They surely won’t be the last. They all will, in one form or another, try to repair their image, to persuade the public that all is good.
Our memory needs to be long. We cannot simply forget the roles they have played.
I’m all for forgiveness. I believe in that virtue. But that is not something that any of these individuals have asked for. And until there is some transformative shift from any of them, I’m not ready to just shrug it off and laugh with them.