Trump press secretary blasts BuzzFeed’s reporting as ‘attack on Christ’

Sean Spicer says he’s upset about the politicization of Christmas.

Sean Spicer stands in an elevator as he arrives at Trump Tower on November 16. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Sean Spicer stands in an elevator as he arrives at Trump Tower on November 16. CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

On Sunday, the Republican National Committee issued a Christmas press release from RNC Chair Reince Priebus that some read as comparing President-elect Donald Trump with Jesus Christ.

“Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind,” Priebus, who will soon become Trump’s chief of staff, wrote in the release, which was co-authored by RNC co-chair Sharon Day. “Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.”

That passage raised eyebrows, including those of Politico reporter Glenn Thrush, who referenced the #POTUS (President of the United States of America) hashtag while connecting the “new King” language with Trump’s status as president-elect:

Even a top aide to John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, thought the statement went too far:

BuzzFeed covered the controversy in a report entitled, “People Are Arguing About Whether Republicans Just Compared Trump To Jesus.” Reporter David Mack contacted RNC spokesman Sean Spicer and asked whether the statement was intended as a reference to Trump.


“I hope you are kidding,” Spicer, who will soon become Trump’s press secretary, told BuzzFeed in an email. “Christ is the King in the Christian faith. To ask this on Christmas is frankly offensive.”

Spicer — who went on CNN earlier this month and, asked about Trump’s conflicts of interest, made a case that corruption is legal so long as it’s done in the open — also took to Twitter to strongly deny the statement had anything to do with Trump.

Spicer went as far as to demand BuzzFeed apologize for what he characterized as an “attack on Christ.”

What Spicer didn’t mention, of course, is that nobody has politicized Christmas more than Trump, who made his distaste for the “politically correct” greeting of “happy holidays” a centerpiece of his campaign.


“I guarantee, if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘merry Christmas’ at every store… every store. Every store,” Trump told an audience in Iowa last year. “The ‘happy holidays’ — you can leave that over in the corner… Happy holidays, everybody. Enjoy it. But I’m saying ‘merry Christmas’ to whoever the hell wants to hear it.”

Trump reiterated that sentiment again this year, telling attendees of one of his “thank you” rallies earlier this month, “We’re gonna start saying ‘merry Christmas’ again… How about all those department stores, they have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘merry Christmas’? I think they’re gonna start putting up ‘merry Christmas.’”

Spicer’s attack on BuzzFeed doesn’t bode well for those hoping that Trump’s relationship with the media once he’s president won’t be as toxic as it was during his campaign, during which he regularly smeared journalists as “dishonest” and “scum,” vowed to curtail free speech laws, and threatened to sue outlets for negative coverage.

Trump hasn’t held a press conference since July. In a radio interview earlier this month with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Priebus suggested that journalists trying to cover the Trump White House might not have as much or as regular access as they’ve had during previous administrations. He suggested daily press briefings might be abolished.

“Look, I think that many things have to change, and I think that it’s important that we look at all of those traditions that are great, but quite frankly, as you know, don’t really make news,” Priebus said. “And you know, even looking at things like the daily White House briefing from the press secretary, I mean, there’s a lot of different ways that things can be done, and I can assure you we’re looking at that.”