‘Waleed that’s not true’: Spicer’s fiery exchange
FORMER White House press secretary Sean Spicer has faced off against Waleed Aly in a tense appearance on The Project.
The Network 10 host didn't pull any punches during Mr Spicer's interview on Thursday night, repeatedly interrupting and accusing him on multiple occasions of not answering the question.
In response, the former press secretary doubled down on his answers, even accusing The Project host of not telling the "truth" about what he had written in his memoir about Paul Manafort.
Aly starting off his grilling by asking the former press secretary why he had decided to "blatantly lie" about the size of Donald Trump's inauguration audience.
"Well as I said Waleed, clearly my intention was to go out and make a case for the support and intensity and enthusiasm and try and find ways to -" Mr Spicer said, before he was cut off.
"I understand that," Aly said. "But you could of, for example, said this president won the election, he has a lot of support, this is not about the inauguration crowd, but you didn't."
Aly also questioned Mr Spicer's motives to go "in on the joke" and make fun of himself in an appearance at last year's Emmys after leaving the White House.
Mr Spicer argued he had made "a couple of jokes" at his expense to show people he knows "how to take a joke", adding that "in the current culture we need now probably a few more laughs".
"But this is a joke that's really about playing a role of misleading the American public. In a lot of cases that's what the joke's really about - is that appropriate?" Aly hit back.
"Well I admit, I was very clear with you at the beginning that I would love a do-over on that day and there is many things that -," Mr Spicer replied, before Aly cut in again.
"No it's not just that, the joke is really about the entire nature of the job," the journalist said.
Waleed speaks to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about that first briefing, his appearance at the Emmys, and what Trump would have to do to lose his base. #TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/6xbHj6a16h— The Project (@theprojecttv) July 26, 2018
"OK, you're asking me what happened at the Emmys and that's exactly what it was," Mr Spicer replied defensively. "I'm going to keep having fun if I can."
The former press secretary also had a fiery response to Aly's assertions that Mr Spicer jas claimed in his new memoir that Mr Manafort was a "far more important figure" in the Trump election campaign.
"Actually, first of all, look Waleed, actually, that's not true," Mr Spicer replied. "I never, actually, I was at the RNC the entire time … what he did was at the time for what the campaign needed, and what his experience was. I wrote that he brought a level of gravitas and maturity to the campaign."
Aly's persistent questioning divided viewers on Twitter, with some accusing The Project host of not letting Mr Spicer answer questions properly.
I like this guy on #TheProjectTV but as Australians we need to stop interrupting people after we ask them questions. Good on him for having a laugh at himself too.— Jye Smith (@jyesmith) July 26, 2018
Waleed is such an annoying interviewer. Not a single word is listened to. Just badgering and belittling this man Sean. No one deserves that #TheProjectTV— Ruth Smoother (@RSmoother) July 26, 2018
Good on you Waleed, but you can't get any sense out of this guy #TheProjectTV— Bich Kweef (@bichkweef) July 26, 2018
Mr Spicer resigned in July 2017 after a tumultuous six month tenure as White House press secretary.
He was criticised for frequently attacking journalists at press briefings and being evasive when answering questions.
Mr Spicer was also immortalised by Melissa McCarthy in memorable Saturday Night Live skits alongside Alec Baldwin, who lampooned Donald Trump.
Since his departure from the White House, Mr Spicer has been making the rounds on the media circuit, which has included a controversial appearance at the Emmys last September.
Mr Spicer is currently on the promotional trail spruiking his memoir The Briefing.
The Project airs Sunday to Friday at 6.30pm on Network 10.