HUFFPOST HILL - Sean Spicer Assaults Truth, Personal Demons

Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!

In his first press conference since he curbstomped the truth in front of a live audience, Sean Spicer refused to rule out invading a country; he said the White House is entitled to “disagree with the facts” and appeared to suffer a minor nervous meltdown ― but everything’s A-OK because he smiled and called on Julie Pace. Marco Rubio’s statement supporting Rex Tillerson’s nomination because of “the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad” makes us wonder if there were ever a time when politicians publicly said that everything was hunky dory and, as such, they were going to phone it in for a while. And President Trump started pulling out of trade agreements, because TVs have gotten too affordable and people need to stop watching Sean Spicer’s press conferences. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, January 23rd, 2017:

POSH SPICE, SCARY SPICE AND GINGER SPICE: MEET LIAR SPICE! Our favorite bit was when he decried people saying racially inflammatory things not apologizing for them (really, he did!). Paige Lavender:In his first appearance since lying to the public on Saturday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was unapologetic. ‘I believe that we have to be honest with the American people, but I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts,’ Spicer told reporters Monday in the first press briefing under President Donald Trump.  ‘Our intention is never to lie to you,’ he added…. He doubled down Monday on claims about the inauguration crowd, saying ‘it’s unquestionable’ that Trump’s inauguration was the most-watched in history, despite evidence that the event drew a smaller physical crowd and lower television viewership than past inaugurations.” [HuffPost]

Spicer then repeatedly complained in a five minute rant that it’s “demoralizing” for the president to have to read mean news stories all the time. Literally sad!

MORE BAD STUFF - S.V. Date: “While President Donald Trump brags about how hundreds of CIA employees gave him standing ovations during his Saturday visit, it should not have come as a surprise. He never told them to sit. The 400 agency staffers were standing when Trump entered the room, were still standing when he came to the lectern, and then remained standing through his 15 minutes of remarks. ‘You know that the CIA will not sit down until the president tells them to,’ said Yael Eisenstat, who spent more than half of her 13-year career in counterterrorism and intelligence work at the agency. On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: ‘Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!’ …. Sean Spicer, during his first press briefing Monday, again referred to the ‘standing ovation’ at the CIA as proof of the employees’ support for the president.” [HuffPost]

DELANEY DOWNER -  The American Academy of Pediatrics and a host of other groups want senators to get Tom Price on the record about vaccines. “As you work through the confirmation process, we urge you to ensure that Chairman Price is committed to protecting the citizens of this nation from vaccine preventable diseases,” the groups said last week in a letter to key senators…. Price, an orthopedic surgeon, has been a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a libertarian medical group that thinks it should be easier for people to decline vaccines for their children. “We believe in patient freedom and the right to decline medical care,” Jane Orient, a spokeswoman for the AAPS, said in an interview. Price’s second hearing is tomorrow. [HuffPost]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to eliot@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

IN CASE YOU WEREN’T STILL ENERGIZED FROM THE WOMEN’S MARCH, HAVE A LOOKIE-LOO AT THIS  - Elections can shut that whole thing down. Amanda Terkel and Laura Bassett: “In one of his first acts as president, Donald Trump has reinstated a federal ban on U.S. funding for international health organizations that counsel women on family planning options that include abortion.  The Mexico City policy, also known as the global gag rule, was first put in place by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It prohibits giving U.S. funding to nongovernmental organizations that offer or advise on a wide range of family planning and reproductive health options if they include abortion ― even if U.S. dollars are not specifically used for abortion-related services.  Since then, the gag rule has been something of a political football, rescinded and reinstated as soon as presidents take office. President Bill Clinton did away with the rule, President George W. Bush reinstated it and then President Barack Obama again revoked it in 2009.” [HuffPost]

LOL, it’s like they don’t care: “On Monday, surrounded by other white men, President Donald Trump signed an anti-abortion executive order that has far-reaching consequences for women’s reproductive health access worldwide...A pan of the people standing by his side showed that there were few, if any, women present.” [HuffPost’s Amanda Terkel]

TRUMP PULLS U.S. OUT OF TPP  -  Americans are going to be soooooooo pissed when the price of mudflaps rises. Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump formally withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Monday, distancing America from its Asian allies as China’s influence in the region rises. Fulfilling a campaign pledge to end American involvement in the 2015 pact, Trump signed an executive order in the Oval Office pulling the United States from the 12-nation TPP. ‘Great thing for the American worker,’ Trump said as he signed the order on his third full day in office. The Republican says the trade deal would have damaged U.S. manufacturing. The accord, backed heavily by U.S. business, was negotiated by former President Barack Obama’s administration but never approved by Congress. It had been the main economic pillar of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region to counter China. Trump has sparked worries in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific with his opposition to the TPP and his campaign demands for U.S. allies to pay more for their security.” [Reuters]

@BernieSanders: If Trump is seriously opposed to outsourcing, he can lead by shutting down his own sweatshops and paying workers in the US a living wage.

...ALSO SETS STAGE TO RENEGOTIATE NAFTA -  Reuters: “U.S. President Donald Trump could sign an executive order as early as Monday intended to renegotiate the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, NBC News reported, citing an unidentified White House official. In addition to wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the new Republican president also intends to sign an executive order pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), NBC reported...NAFTA, which took effect in 1994, and other trade deals became lightning rods for voter anger in the U.S. industrial heartland states that swept Trump to victory.” [Reuters]

SO MAYBE THAT’S WHY ADELSON WAS AT THE INAUGURATION - Despite President Trump’s experience in business, people don’t *ALWAYS* give you money despite widely reported incompetence. Eliana Johnson and Ken Vogel:  “...just days after Trump’s inauguration, the donors expected to provide much of the funding for the [outside pro-Trump] group — the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer — are considering abandoning the effort and launching an independent effort of their own, a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO. It is unclear precisely why Rebekah Mercer became unhappy with the plans for the organization, though tensions surfaced between her and Brad Parscale, who served as the Trump campaign’s digital director, during a December meeting in Trump Tower. What is clear is that she may be nearing a breaking point both with Parscale and Nick Ayers, the Trump aides slated to run the group, as well as with Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus and his political guru Steve Hantler, who are expected to provide key financial backing for the effort.” [Politico]

RUBIO TO BACK TILLERSON BECAUSE FIIIIIIIIIIINE, HE’LL DO IT - Rubio/Cruz 2024 is going to be such a principled ticket. Sean Sullivan: “Sen. Marco Rubio will vote for President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, he announced Monday, resolving the final major question surrounding Rex Tillerson’s bid to be confirmed as the nation’s top diplomat. While Tillerson’s confirmation was effectively sealed on Sunday, Rubio’s decision provides a further boost to the former ExxonMobil chief executive. The Florida Republican had expressed serious doubts about Tillerson, particularly when it comes to Russia, and waited until the last possible day to announce his vote…’Given the uncertainty that exists both at home and abroad about the direction of our foreign policy, it would be against our national interests to have this confirmation unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy,’ Rubio said in a lengthy statement posted on Facebook. ‘Therefore, despite my reservations, I will support Mr. Tillerson’s nomination in committee and in the full Senate.’” [WaPo]

Our favorite part of his statement: “However, upcoming appointments to critical posts in the Department of State are not entitled to and will not receive from me the same level of deference I have given this nomination.” Huh.

MAYBE IT’S TIME TO RETIRE - If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again to give David Brock way too much of a platform. Zach Carter: “Had the vote counts gone a little differently in three Midwestern counties on Nov. 8, the 120 or so Democratic Party donors gathered at a golf resort outside of Miami this weekend would have been feting each other in the nation’s capital. Instead, they were taking in somber lectures about the electoral catastrophe the party had just suffered, and grappling with the way forward. It was a gathering of what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) railed against during his presidential campaign as ‘the establishment.’ The conference, organized by longtime Clinton family operative David Brock, was dominated by Clintonfolk. Jon Cowan, president of the ardently centrist Third Way think tank, was among the most prominent panelists, alongside Hillary Clinton confidante Maya Harris, ‘Morning Joe’ regular Harold Ford and even embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.   But the overwhelming analysis emanating from Brockapalooza was essentially a haute couture Berniecrat gripe: The Democratic Party has been writing off way too much of the electorate by assuming it doesn’t need ― or can’t win ― the votes of working-class people.” [HuffPost]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are a selections of A+ signs from this weekend’s women’s march.

AMERICANS SUPPORT OBAMA’S CLEMENCY FOR DRUG OFFENDERS, NOT MANNING: POLL  - Still pretty amazing that a guy can have the power to liberate a person from jail with a signature one day and spend his whole evening mindlessly surfing through Netflix the next. Ariel Edwards-Levy:  “A 58 percent majority of Americans say they approve of Obama’s decision to reduce the sentences of hundreds of federal prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. Just 30 percent disapprove. However, opinions are divided along partisan lines: 81 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents, but just under a third of Republicans, approve of the decision...Obama’s clemency toward Manning is significantly less popular. Just 33 percent of Americans agree with the decision to commute her sentence, while 47 percent disagree, with the remainder unsure. Views on Manning’s commutation are also polarized, with 49 percent of Democrats, but just 36 percent of independents and 13 percent of Republicans, approving.” [HuffPost]


- We hope these fish controlled robots are part of President Trump’s coalition of the willing.

- How to re-program Furby dolls to be (even more) awful.

- The best remixes of Richard Spencer being punched.


@brandyljensen:  rough day for people who believed in the principled courage of Marco Rubio

@tedlieu: Was charged $2.99 for coffee listed at $2.59. That’s why I have trust issues. Oh, and the fact that @seanspicer at #WhiteHouse makes shit up

@kibblesmith: [walks out on stage]

[writes ISIS on a whiteboard]

[crowd gasps]

[draws a big ‘X’ right through ISIS]

[crowd goes FUCKING INSANE]

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com)