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[00:00:00]

Brian, have you got a picture by the White House press secretary podium yet? Well, it's funny. I was looking through my phone recently and I thought about this because everybody likes to take the picture standing at the podium as if they're taking the questions. I have the sort of picture of me next to the podium, not behind it. So, yes, that is my mission. I will I will have to get a picture of me behind it, because right now, as we've discussed in the past, it's harder for foreign press to get into the press briefing room because of coronavirus restrictions.

[00:00:25]

Fingers crossed, they'll be left in the coming weeks and months. And I'll be able to get that iconic picture behind the podium.

[00:00:31]

Yeah, because not throwing any shade or anything, anyone who visits it, it seems to be their profile picture for a considerable amount of time afterwards, whether it's on LinkedIn or Twitter or even Facebook.

[00:00:42]

It's the Washington equivalent of sort of trying to push up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You know, that picture that everybody does, which I just threateners stand behind the White House press briefing podium.

[00:00:56]

From Auti News, this is States of mind, this American carnage weapon fired back with rubber bullets stops right here and stops right now.

[00:01:18]

I do not believe we're the dark, angry nation that Donald Trump sees in his tweets in the middle of the night, your U.S. Election 2020 podcast with Brian O'Donovan in Washington and Jackie Fox in Dublin today.

[00:01:36]

And a new year, a new record. Three hundred and one days. That's how long it's been since the last formal White House press briefing. This was the largest audience to ever witnessed an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe.

[00:01:48]

What the president believes and feels is a true statement, whether or not it's supported by, you know, facts, whether or not it's what the prevailing attitude is. That's a whole separate article.

[00:02:06]

Presidents go through several White House press secretaries during their tenure in the White House. Barack Obama, he had three press secretaries during his two terms in office. Then in 2016, an unusual president was elected and an unusual White House team got attention like never before.

[00:02:26]

This was the largest audience to ever witnessed an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe.

[00:02:33]

That's right. Donald Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer, we heard a clip of it there, that sort of infamous moment, really, where he defended the crowd size at Donald Trump's inauguration. He landed himself in hot water on a couple of occasions. He was accused of telling lies on behalf of the president, but he most definitely was high profile. He projected that job into a massive primetime TV audience to a degree that the TV networks here in the U.S. would run the press secretary briefing live, which was never done before.

[00:03:04]

I can't say they don't really do it any more right now, but it's certainly at the time a big, high profile, controversial president who had a big, high profile, controversial press secretary in the form of Sean Spicer, Anderson, a White House press secretary there, the mouthpiece of the president.

[00:03:19]

It's a crucial pick for them, especially as they face re-election, because they need someone strong, sturdy and immovable to shape media coverage, establish credibility and win support for key priorities and policies.

[00:03:36]

Yeah, and it's a high profile job. And one of the most famous fiction press secretaries in recent years was probably C.J. on the West Wing, who was played by Allison Janney. I'm sorry, C.J., but you're not outraged by this.

[00:03:46]

Outraged? I'm barely surprised. This is a country where women are allowed to drive a car. They're not allowed to be in the company of any man other than a close relative. They beheaded one hundred and twenty one people last year for robbery, rape and drug trafficking. They have no free press, no elected government, no political parties. But Brutus is an honorable man. 17 schoolgirls were forced to burn alive because they weren't wearing the proper clothing and outraged.

[00:04:12]

No Steve, no Chris, no Mark. That is Saudi Arabia, our partners in peace yet have really strong character.

[00:04:19]

And it showed what a big role it was. And what we've seen under the Trump administration is different styles. We spoke about Sean Spicer being the first very out there, quite controversial, doing lots of briefings that got lots of attention. He then handed over to his deputy, Sarah Huckabee. Sanders She began by doing quite a lot of briefings and then they disappeared. She was stopped doing the briefings. They were no more. She was replaced by Stephanie Gresham for a short time.

[00:04:41]

Absolutely no briefings.

[00:04:43]

Time now for The RidicuList and a new year, a new record. Three hundred and one days. That's how long it's been since the last formal White House press briefing.

[00:04:50]

And still no sign at the podium of one. Stephanie Grisham.

[00:04:53]

The current press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, is doing regular briefings again. She comes in very prepared. She's very ready for all the questions and turns it around and attacks the media when she herself is under attack before death sentence.

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That's an absurd attempt to justify the misleading headlines that are regularly on your network. Like I was just walking in watching CNN as they lauded the, quote, rallies in the streets. You were. Are you saying the president got to let me finish? This isn't a cable news segment. I'm answering your question right now from the White House podium.

[00:05:26]

But as I say, different to see the levels of access. At the time when Sarah Sanders scrapped virtually the whole concept of a press briefing, her counterargument would be yes. But you get access to the president himself because he was doing these long, rambling sort of doorstep media gaggle interviews under the helicopter in the South Lawn, which we've spoken about before. From a personal perspective, as a foreign journalist, that was a way of getting access to the president.

[00:05:51]

You could see him at that point and get your question.

[00:05:53]

And as you've done, fortunately, however, times, Brian, as I've managed to do, you're planning on going to Doonbeg in Ireland. Can you tell us about that visit? What do you hope to do? Well, we're going to be staying at Doonbeg in Ireland because it's convenient and it's a great place, but it's convenient that we'll be meeting with a lot of the Irish officials and it'll be an overnight stay. And I look forward to that.

[00:06:15]

What will you be discussing with the TUC while you're there? You heard of a loud voice.

[00:06:19]

You shout over the helicopter, you get the president's attention, you get your question in perhaps in a better way, in a more accessible way than the regular press briefing. But, of course, people would say the press briefing got a chance to get more detailed questions to get into the nitty gritty. It was very easy for Donald Trump to ignore the question or to claim he couldn't hear it because that helicopter, I can tell you, is very, very loud.

[00:06:38]

Well, let's go talk to the guy who got the ball rolling for this Trump administration.

[00:06:56]

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, welcome to State of Mind. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

[00:07:04]

Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I think it could be safe to say that the focus has never been more on the White House and the White House press secretary. When you look at everything happening at the moment, the coronavirus, a re-election year, international eyes on steps, what steps Donald Trump will take next. Is there any part of you that wishes you are back in the thick of it? Do you miss this? Would you go back?

[00:07:31]

And I have missed it one day. And I have a hard time thinking that, I mean, short of some kind of mental illness, that I would go back. I mean, in all honesty, I enjoy doing it. It was an honor, but the intensity of the scrutiny is just something that you can only take for so long. And and I had my time and now it's time to move on. So I don't mistake not the honor that I had.

[00:07:57]

But at the same time, there's no way knowing what I know now, that I could walk back in there.

[00:08:01]

So do you think the role of the White House press secretary has changed since Donald Trump entered office?

[00:08:09]

It's a great question because there's questions about the role of the press secretary, the role of the staff and then the role of the presidency since since Trump. And what I mean by that, I think all three of the same, which is that public facing piece of it. I always joke that I thought that that my profile would jump up a notch when I joined the White House staff just because I previously just been doing interviews on politics and stuff. But you realize in this White House it's not just the press secretary, but the chief of staff and several of the other advisers that have suddenly grown with this public persona.

[00:08:44]

I really don't see that thing continuing. I think whether it's this election with Joe, you know, Joe Biden beats Trump or in four years, Trump's re elected the next president. I doubt you're going to see a recurring a return to this very few politicians. I mean, Trump was the politician. And I just don't see something like this coming along, at least in my lifetime for either party.

[00:09:07]

Donald Trump very much cares about crowd size. And you infamously defended the size of the crowd at his inauguration. How do you think Donald Trump has been feeling in recent weeks? He was looking at a lot of empty seats in a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He's had to cancel rallies. There's been poor attendances. How do you think he's feeling right now?

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Well, it's probably a mixed bag. And I say that because, you know, you definitely had that Tulsa one was unbelievably disappointing.

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I think the campaign was the one that jacked up expectations. They were talking about a million people that had tried to get tickets. And then clearly that wasn't the case when you saw it happen. But at the same time, you have a pandemic going around, which is, you know, unequivocally part of the reason. And so I think that knowing Trump, as long as he can excuse why it's happening and say, well, you've got a pandemic, people are being told not to congregate large places, that probably helps.

[00:09:58]

That being said, I think part of the reason you're seeing this return to briefings is that he has he feeds off this desire to want to have a constant conversation, if you will, with the American people.

[00:10:10]

Just on that return to the briefing, they were scrapped back in April because they had become very problematic for Donald Trump. He mused aloud about injecting disinfectants into the body. If you were his press secretary, would you have advised him to resume those briefings? Do you think it's a good move?

[00:10:24]

So that's a good question, because I think the briefings are important during a national pandemic or any sort of crisis. It's important that the leaders are seen as being out there. That being said, to your point about how they were conducted, that's where I would have inserted myself what I think the president has done a really good job of right now as they've returned. If he goes out there, he says gives provides the update both in terms of the economy, health and the overall effort to defeat the pandemic.

[00:10:49]

And then he takes a few questions and walks away. They're not long and free wheeling. The only other piece of advice that I would give him would be to bring an expert or two at one point. But at the end of the day, remember, especially as we head into an election, people are judging this president on this president's actions and this president his policy in this president's results. So when you have a whole team up there, although it's somewhat beneficial, you also got to make sure that you balance and don't let you know the attention go away from the principal in this case, the president, because he needs to be seen as leading the country through this crisis.

[00:11:23]

There seems to be a shift of image from his part, though. Over the past couple of weeks, we've seen a change in tone in his approach to the coronavirus pandemic. He's now actively wearing a mask. And as we were talking about there, he's restarted those press briefings. Why do you think that is? Is he worried about his re-election bid?

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You know, it sounds kind of cliche, but I don't think he's worried. He doesn't. I've never in all the time I've known, he never gets worried in the sense that I don't know you, but I know I do. When you know something's going on, I get. OK, well, how's it going to work out? What do we need? He rarely shows signs of being worried, that being said, I think you're right that there has been a change in the tone and the style, whether that's a combination of health officials and advisers or outside advisers and friends or just the public data and polling getting to them, I don't know.

[00:12:12]

But I mean, I would assume it's a combination of all of those. That being said, I think, frankly, as I mentioned with the briefings, I think we are he has done a much better last 10 days to two weeks than he had, you know, coming out of the gate. Because you remember, his poll numbers initially were very good. He started doing very well with how he's leading the pandemic. And then as those briefings continued, as the pandemic continued, they started to go down.

[00:12:35]

I'll be really interested to see we are where we are in terms of handling the pandemic. You know, in a week from now, once this whole new mode of communicating sets in.

[00:12:44]

Just to go back to the role of the White House press secretary for a moment, I want to go into that because obviously there's a new kid on the block, Kayleigh McEnany. Do you think truth twisting has gone a little bit too far, that there is too much spin and loyalty to the president to make him look good? For instance, when Donald Trump thought out loud that people should ingest distant disinfectant, the White House press secretary, Kelly McCann, and he said they were taking those comments, were taken out of context.

[00:13:13]

And she was also seen defending President Trump's use of racist language, describing the coronavirus as khong flu. Has things gone a little bit too far?

[00:13:25]

Well, ultimately, your job as a press secretary is to defend your principle. And if you don't, you know, if you went out there and said, hey, the president's wrong, I don't think that you would last more than five minutes after saying that. I don't.

[00:13:37]

And that pretty much goes any press secretary that goes out and contradicts the institution that they work for or the person that they work for, I think is pretty pretty much going to guarantee themselves a short tenure after that.

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That being said, I think there's a way that he might have been able to nuance things better in that instance, you know, and so I think you can look at each particular instance and sort of get into the to the thing. But right now, the problem isn't just on. It's a two sided problem. The press has figured out how to use briefings and opportunities like that to kind of create a, you know, as many gotcha moments as possible.

[00:14:13]

And it's not become an opportunity as it used to be for the press secretary to get out there, provide information as far as what the government or the White House in particular was doing, and then the press to try to gather more information on policy or personnel updates, whatever it's literally became, become a game of gotcha. The press secretary tries to figure out how to shame the press. The the reporters try to figure out how to twist, you know, them into a pretzel to figure out how they can make a moment.

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And that's unfortunate because it's kind of move. There's a point at which it becomes pointless. The briefing doesn't serve a purpose if the only purpose is for reporters to either have their moment on YouTube or television or the press secretary to have their moment, and it becomes a game of literally trying to figure out who scored more points against the other person.

[00:15:00]

And critics of yours and critics of Donald Trump would say that you told lies from that podium and you told lies for Donald Trump, who was also telling lies. When you look back at your time on the podium, did you tell lies to the American people at any stage? No.

[00:15:13]

You know, I've said this before. What I think when I look at a lot of the critique, people say, you know, you knew the following. And that's, you know, to to make that assumption is pretty hard. I went out there every day.

[00:15:24]

There were days when I asked the president, how do you feel about X based on a media inquiry? I would go back and say the president says he feels this way. The president believes this. What the president believes and feels is a truthful statement, whether or not it's supported by, you know, facts, whether or not it's what the prevailing attitude is, that's a whole separate subject. But for me to go out there and tell you what the president believes is a truthful statement.

[00:15:53]

My job is to deliver his thoughts and beliefs and updates won't happen. It's not to be an interpreter. That's not the job of the press secretary. And if it's if if that's the case and the press is asking the wrong questions. Right. So if you ask a question, say, what does the president believe on this issue and you come back and tell it to him? Well, you may not agree with it. You may think he's flat wrong, you may think is back or misplaced.

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But at the end of the day, if your question is what does he believe that that's up to, then then you're getting the answer that you want it. If you're asking whether or not the premise of of the issue or his belief is factual, that's quite another discussion and issue.

[00:16:28]

Sean, I read your book, The Briefing, when it came out two years ago, an enjoyable read, I have to say. I reread it over the last few days just to refresh my memory. And what struck me was your background. You were very much from the Republican Party side, not from the Trump side. You were a data guy. You were a polling guy. You were all about identifying voters. What is your assessment right now of where Donald Trump is that he is way behind Joe Biden?

[00:16:50]

Can he overcome it and can he win on Election Day? That's a really good question. Let me just start by saying first, thank you, provide the book for reading it, because the second thing, then my next book comes out in October, so I hope you get that as well. I am a data guy in the sense that that's that's what you have to look at. And and it's almost like any other circumstance these days that, you know, the analytics, the stuff on the ground.

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And right now our election is going to come down to probably eight states, maybe nine, maybe seven, but somewhere in that that ballpark. And the president right now, there's no question in my mind that the president's a little behind, but he was in twenty sixteen as well. And the question that comes down and if you read the book, you'll know there's a chapter that I put in there called Up Shifting the Down Shifter's where we had a lot of very hard core Republicans that vote Republican all the time.

[00:17:42]

They weren't going to vote for Hillary, but they were uncomfortable voting for Trump. And we're seeing that again in this election to some degree. And the question is, can we go out and make the case to those individuals? That's where the mechanics of the campaign, Brian, come down to. Can you knock on enough doors? Can you register enough voters? Can you get them to cast that ballot? That's what matters. And the and what I would argue is, is that right now the Trump campaign has had a three and a half year head start over Biden while Biden was trying to win a very crowded primary.

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The Trump campaign, the RNC and the affiliated super PACs have out there running a general election strategy. So, for example, in Michigan, they've been on the ground in Michigan for three years. The Biden campaign is just putting their team in there now. So if you think about it in terms of running a race, a road race, if both people are running the same pace, you're both running a 10 minute mile or an eight minute kilometer and one person gets an hour head start, it's hard to catch up.

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And so the question really comes down to if this election can stay somewhat close, I think that that is going to give him an edge. The question is, can he close the gap in those individual states? Because when you do national polls, you're not going to win. Republicans are going to win New York or California. But I think we're pretty safe in places in the Midwest and South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana. So we've got to look at those battleground states and make sure that we have an absolute plan to register enough voters, to convert enough voters and to make sure that we get all of those, what we call low propensity voters to people who don't tend to vote as regularly as others out there and do it.

[00:19:15]

And this is where the mechanics of the campaign are going to be crucial.

[00:19:18]

Would Texas be one of those states? Sean Spicer, you know, usually a red Republican state, but it seems to be turning a little bit purple within the last couple of years. I mean, better work. Give Ted Cruz a pretty good run for his money recently.

[00:19:35]

Yeah, I think that it is definitely I wouldn't put it in the purple category. I'd say it's it's a lighter shade of red than it has been in the last. But but I don't think that we're there yet. The state Republican Party has done a really good job of going out and recruiting new voters. I think it's going to be closer than it ever has. But I think for this cycle and probably the next Texas and Georgia are still solid Republican.

[00:20:00]

I think the Republican Party has gotten the wake up because if we start putting Texas in in the tossup column, it's going to be a challenge for this for for my party to win the presidential elections for a while. I mean, that's what happened in California in the 80s. We let it trend from being a somewhat reliably red state and now it is solidly blue. So I don't think Texas is there yet, but it's definitely not trending in the right direction.

[00:20:26]

What do you see as Donald Trump's biggest battle in this election?

[00:20:32]

Well, his biggest battle is, is that, you know, you're coming out, you've got a pandemic and you've got an economy that has been in shambles after doing really well. And he's got to make a very clear case to the voters that to stick with him. And that's really what it comes down to. If you're an incumbent going into an election, the election's always a referendum on the incumbent. And so last time it was Hillary versus Trump and he could make the case, hey, my policies are going to be better than hers and was theoretical.

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Well, now people are looking and saying, do we stick with this horse? Do we think the economy is moving in the right direction? Do you have what it takes to kind of quash this pandemic? And he's got to make that very crystal clear as to what a Biden administration look like and why people need to stick with them. That's why I think that the tone and tenor of the last two weeks to 10 days has been much better because it is he is out there talking in a much more you know, smart is probably the short answer of how to deal with the pandemic.

[00:21:30]

He's going out giving the facts and figures, talking about what the government is doing, updating the American people and staying focused on that. And if he can continue to do that, I think we have a pretty good shot. I think the issue right now is, if you think about it, what should be concerning to the Trump campaign is that everyone keeps mocking Joe Biden and saying he's in his basement, he's in his basement, he's not doing anything true, but he's climbing in the polls and.

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So, you know, if that strategy is working, it doesn't matter how you win right at the end of the day, if Joe Biden stays in his basement for the next ninety nine days and wins the election, why does it? Doesn't matter once, you know, you win. And so I think the Trump campaign has got to start drawing that contrast between Biden and Trump much, much clearer. You mentioned if Texas were to be lost, what that would mean for the Republican Party going forward.

[00:22:22]

Republicans have been criticized a lot for not calling Donald Trump out on Mueller report on Ukraine, on racist comments, on late reaction to the coronavirus. The Republicans have stayed silent if it is a disastrous election for Donald Trump come November and he loses in a landslide, has he done damage to the Republican Party? And will it be a long road to recovery for the party?

[00:22:42]

No, I mean, look, you look at if you look back through our party, when when the when you have the party of the president, the party shapes in your mold. If you think about it, when when Bill Clinton was elected, there was fear among the Democrats that the Democratic Party had inched too far to the right and that liberalism was going to be was dead.

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And obviously that clearly has not happened. It has gone further and further to the left. So I don't think that one presidency shapes the Republican Party for that long. If you look at traditionally the party out of power, whether through Republicans or Democrats, at least the last couple of decades has had this period of churn, where is the soul searching moment?

[00:23:20]

And they try to figure out who the leaders are, where they want to go. My guess is that if Trump were to lose, we would go through that moment again. You would have these figures in the party about whether or not we needed to double down on Trump and his policies and his rhetoric or whether or not we need to move in a new direction. The nice thing that I look as I look around the corner for twenty, twenty four, if you've got a lot of really interesting and great leaders that look like they're going to step up to the plate in a big way.

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I mean, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State Nikki Haley, there's a lot of these individuals who are that next generation of leadership for the Republican Party. And I think that will be very helpful because you've got people that will keep the party moving in a positive direction. But there's like I said, there's always churn. If you look at where the Democratic Party is post Obama, you know, once they lost, you have them out there really going into a far, far left socialist direction, which is not, frankly, where Obama left the party.

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And so, you know, the question is what would happen post Trump in terms of churn? I don't know.

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But I think it will be a it's almost like a family feud afterwards where all the family members are arguing about what the family should do. And by and large, over the last couple of decades, it's always worked itself out.

[00:24:37]

You know, the guy you've worked with him, could you see him refusing to leave even if he loses?

[00:24:41]

No, I think it's first of all, look, anyone who's running for office is always going to say, I'm not planning on that. I'm expecting to win. You never talk about losing because that's just not how politics is done. I mean, and the irony, Brian, is that all of the discussion always stays on Trump. Right. And it started that way in twenty sixteen where Trump said that he wouldn't accept the election. Hillary Clinton still has not accepted defeat in the 2016 election.

[00:25:03]

Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia and it wasn't even that close of an election, talked about the fact that it was stolen from her. It's ironic that over and over again, we keep hearing about what Trump says and as if it's a narrative.

[00:25:16]

But to be fair, and there was no physical office for them to leave, it's not really comparing. You know what?

[00:25:22]

My point is that it's always this, you know, and you've got Biden talking about the fact that his greatest fear is that Trump steals the election. It's the Democrats that are spreading fear into the integrity of our system. But at the end of the day, I got to tell you this, our constitution is clear.

[00:25:38]

If Joe Biden were to win the election and you know, and it was certified, of course it wouldn't matter.

[00:25:46]

I think, frankly, it's a silly discussion in the sense that the way that our institution works is that they would remove physically anyone of any party at any point in our country if they refused to leave the office. Our Constitution is clear about the peaceful. And the other thing is, I've got to be honest with you, knowing Donald Trump. And that's your question, Brian. I can't he would never want that to happen. He would he he might kick and scream a little or make.

[00:26:12]

But he's going to walk out and, you know, do do whatever he can. But once the election is certified, I have no question in my mind, and I think there is enough people in this country that both Republican and Democrat, this wouldn't be an issue. I really think that this is somewhat manufactured by the media because, you know, you've got a situation that's very clear in our country, how a peaceful transfer power works.

[00:26:36]

But, John, is he not putting the foundations there that if he loses, he's already labeling absentee ballots or postal?

[00:26:43]

No, that's not true. That's not true. I've actually been very active tweeting about this. So this is where folks in the media continue to get this wrong. There is a big difference in our country between absentee ballots and mail in ballots. Every state in our union allows for absentee ballots. Always has. And that is you go in, you create there's a process by which you prove who you are through your license, that you get the ballot, it comes back.

[00:27:08]

There's usually a signature piece of this and it goes back. That's very different. And where the media is being extremely dishonest in our country right now is they keep. Sanctions against mail in ballots, absentee ballots are one thing every state allows for, always has. What's different is this idea that is going around in several states right now with their mailing, every single voter that's on the voting rolls, a blank ballot that is much dangerous, much more dangerous, much more susceptible to fraud.

[00:27:34]

And again, it's creating a problem, a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Every single state in this country permits absentee ballots, everyone. And so this idea that it's a mail in ballot is a much more susceptible to fraud, abuse. And I think that I mean, think about it. You have people that are on voting rolls right now that have been dead, that, you know, let their voter registration lapse. And literally the state is mailing out every single person on the voting rolls.

[00:28:05]

So, I mean, look, I got I got one person that works for me on my show right now that had moved. And luckily, the last place that she had lived was at her parents home. And so her parents called her and said, hey, by the way, there's a ballot. They came to you. Imagine if that same person hadn't you know, it wasn't she hadn't lived at home, but she had lived with a group of friends or in some random apartment building.

[00:28:30]

That ballot would just be sitting there. And the problem is, is that the media in the country or continue to inflate mail in ballots where the state mails every single voter about an absentee ballot in which the voter requests the ballot. That's a big distinction. But we're living in different times, John, as well. We're in the middle of a pandemic and there's safety concerns here. Sure. But again, while.

[00:28:51]

Jacqui, Jacqui, hold on. One hundred percent agree with you. So call and ask for a ballot. That's what an absentee ballot is. I have no problem. I voted in our in our state's primary like that. I called and asked for a ballot. They sent it to me. I had to prove who I was with my license over online. It's all online. Then I had to sign it on the back so they could verify the signature and I sent it in.

[00:29:13]

So this fake problem that continues to exist, I'm hugely supportive of absentee ballots because there are measures put in place to ensure that the voter is the voter who they say they are. There's nothing wrong with that. So why won't the Democrats in the media just start saying absentee ballots? Because the problem is, that's the question that I keep asking that I can't get an answer to. Absentee ballots exist in every state. It just requires the voter to affirmatively ask for a ballot as opposed to the state randomly sending everyone out.

[00:29:44]

I think that everybody should vote absentee because of the pandemic for safety. But to pretend that that doesn't exist is doing a disservice to voters.

[00:29:54]

John, before we let you go, I have to ask you about a different type of voting and those voting on Dancing with the Stars.

[00:30:04]

So for our listeners in Ireland who don't know, you were a contestant on Dancing with the Stars here in the U.S., which at home in Ireland is the BBC version Strictly Come Dancing, but everybody would be familiar with it. And that wonderful skintight green ruffled shirt of yours, was that a nod to your Irish roots when you decided to wear green in your dancing performances?

[00:30:25]

Brian, you are the first person to do that, to make that. And I actually love it. So I may I may I may feel that he's wrong with that, that that was and I actually talk about that in the book that's coming out in October.

[00:30:38]

That was I think everyone in Hollywood, every liberal in Hollywood was like, let's let's make this guy, you know, wear something. It's payback. So I luckily I had lost about 15 or 20 pounds because that would have looked much worse before that.

[00:30:51]

But I was evidence from the show. I was not a good dancer. I thought it would be a lot of fun. I had a blast doing it. But that was I mean, honest to God, I was scared going into that more scared than going into the White House briefing room. And I ended up just absolutely loving the experience.

[00:31:09]

So in any case, Sean Spicer, thank you so much for joining us. That was excellent. Thank you. Thanks, Brian. Thanks, Jacqui. Thanks a million, Sean. All right. Take care.

[00:31:23]

August 2020. Who knew it would come around this quickly and in such odd circumstances, but it is still convention season, Brian, and you mentioned odd, the conventions are going to be very odd.

[00:31:36]

They're going to be very unconventional. The Democrats are proceeding in a couple of weeks time with Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was the original location, but they have said it'll be way scaled back. They have told delegates to stay away. They've told supporters to stay away. It would be Joe Biden in front of the camera, presumably with his VP pick by his side and nobody else will be in the room. It will be just a very virtual scaled back event.

[00:32:00]

As we know, the Republicans, Donald Trump wanted a big, big rally type event in North Carolina. The authorities there said no because of coronavirus. He moved his big acceptance speech to Jacksonville, Florida, because he was going to be allowed to have a big rally there. But again, with a big spike in cases in Florida, he's also had to back down on that. So they're back in North Carolina, far, far more scaled back for the Republicans as well.

[00:32:23]

But they will still go ahead these two conventions and they have a purpose.

[00:32:26]

Absolutely. And we will be going into their format, their importance and, you know, particular noteworthy conventions in history over the next couple of weeks on state of Mind.

[00:32:38]

Thanks to you as well, Davilla, for getting in contact with us via email states of mind at our DOT, i.e., she wants to know all about national conventions.

[00:32:47]

So she better tune in in August because that's all we're going to do.

[00:32:51]

Absolutely. Looking forward to it. Thanks, Jacki. Thanks, Brian.