Melissa McCarthy’s latest satire of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer showed that the American people had lost all faith in Trump and his White House to tell them the truth about anything.
The heart of the sketch is a question that has come up more frequently after the Trump communications team’s constantly conflicting media messages about the firing of James Comey. The communications people don’t have access to Trump, and the President is threatening to replace the daily briefings with himself.
The problem that the McCarthy sketch was driving is the perception that Trump is lying to his own staff. People like Sean Spicer are supposed to face the press and explain the administration’s position with no knowledge of what that position is.
When Spicer and the White House’s lack of credibility are the central focus of an SNL sketch, the problem has gone mainstream. The idea that nothing this White House can be believed because Trump’s own staff don’t know if they are being lied to has reached the pop culture status.
Trump is dragging the country into a constitutional crisis. He is also destroying trust in the Executive Branch of the federal government as an institution.
For decades, SNL has turned satire of political leaders into a character trait that becomes baked into voters’ perceptions.
The firestorm of Comey’s firing will be replaced by another scandal or lie soon enough, but the cumulative effect of the loss of credibility of Trump, Spicer, and the entire White House will be permanent.