Republican spokesman doesn't appear to know what 'unacceptable' means

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer has been having a rough week.

After Sunday’s debate, Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack asked Spicer whether he believed the “p—y grabbing” actions Donald Trump described on the “Access Hollywood” tape constituted sexual assault, if Trump really did what he bragged about doing.

Spicer’s reply: “I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer.”

When The Washington Post reported this quote, Spicer said the quote was made up.

“I never said it,” Spicer insisted.

That the press has it all wrong is a common refrain for Spicer, whose Twitter feed over the last few days has mostly consisted of denials of all sorts of reporting about turmoil at the RNC.

But McCormack had Spicer on tape. So Spicer had to qualify his comments again.

“While I was asked question about a matter of law, it is never appropriate to touch anyone in an unwelcome manner,” he told the Post.

“Never appropriate” is a carefully chosen phrase befitting a professional spokesperson defending an untenable position.

But then Spicer slipped up a little bit on Twitter, saying unwanted contact is “unacceptable.”

Now, I’m not a lexicographer, but my general understanding is that, if something is unacceptable, one must not accept it.

And yet, Trump bragged about making unwanted contact with women’s vaginas. And Spicer doesn’t just accept Trump’s behaviour  — he literally, for a living, endeavours to make confessed vagina-grabber Trump the president of the United States.

There has been a tendency to talk about Spicer and other senior Republican operatives as poor, unfortunate souls, put in a deeply uncomfortable position by a primary election in which their party went badly off the rails  — and I’m sure it was Spicer’s preference that Trump not be the Republican nominee.

But here we are. And while Spicer did not exactly create this situation, he is an independent human being with moral agency, and nobody is forcing him to spend his days trying to elect Trump.

If Spicer really thinks unwanted contact is so unacceptable, he could quit his job. Clearly, he does not actually consider it unacceptable.

This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.

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