Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, talks to "CBS This Morning": Full transcript

Sean Spicer Q&A
Sean Spicer Q&A 04:05

In the first 100 days of the Trump administration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has had his share of combative exchanges with the press at his daily briefings. But Spicer told "CBS This Morning" that despite some of the "intense" exchanges he has with the press on camera, it's largely different when the cameras are off. Spicer also said he plans to stick around at the White House and try to facilitate a good relationship between the press and the president. Below is a full transcript of his interview.

GAYLE KING: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just slipped into the chair, joins us now in the East Room. Good morning, Mr. Spicer.

SEAN SPICER: I tried to keep Ivanka here, much better.

GAYLE KING: So please--

CHARLIE ROSE: Great to have her.

GAYLE KING: --real-- it's great to have her but it's always--

CHARLIE ROSE: Always good to have you.

GAYLE KING: --always good to see you.

SEAN SPICER: Thank you.

GAYLE KING: Boy, they call you daytime's newest star for the TV-- for your TV fiery exchanges. I'm wondering what it's like for you, Sean, when you're sitting up there.

SEAN SPICER: It's intense.

GAYLE KING: Seems to be intense every day though.

SEAN SPICER: Some days there's a lot. It's-- it's only one piece of a day. You know, it's about 40 minutes a day. The rest of it is a lot calmer and a lot more pleasant. I think the TV cameras—intensify what goes on there. But-- the-- most of the exchanges are very pleasant throughout the day. You're just seeing one glimpse of what happens.

GAYLE KING: You're still enjoying the job--

SEAN SPICER: I love it.

GAYLE KING: --because there's all sorts of rumors about will he stay, will he not?

SEAN SPICER: That's-- that's-- I feel very good. Look, and as you were just talking about being here in the White House-- it truly is an honor to have this job. And I feel humbled every day to have it-- to represent the president-- the White House and the-- and the American people. So-- I love what I do and as long as the president wants me around, I'll stay.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Well, he said you'll-- stick around as long as there's great ratings.

SEAN SPICER: And keep tuning in.

CHARLIE ROSE: Obviously there's been some tension between the press and the president. What's your suggestion for making that relationship optimal?

SEAN SPICER: Well, I think--

CHARLIE ROSE: Each has their job to do.

SEAN SPICER: --that's right.

CHARLIE ROSE: And you want the press to be tough and you want an opportunity to explain your own policies.

SEAN SPICER: I think that's right. I think that-- that's the fundamental-- aspect of what we're trying to do. We want to talk about what we're doing. They have a right-- and a duty, frankly, to ask tough questions and get to the bottom of things. I think there's a difference though-- about the tone that occurs sometimes. And-- and-- and attempt to try to get a headline rather than a story. I think that they-- they write--

CHARLIE ROSE: The press or the president?

SEAN SPICER: The press. But-- but we want to make sure that-- that we-- we-- we have-- and I think you saw Jeff Mason over the weekend talk about how we've gone to great lengths to be transparent and accessible and give the press -- so a lot of the behind the scenes is not what you read all the time in terms of how we operate.

We have-- we feel very good about the relationship that exists. And I understand the press is always going to want more access, more transparency. And we do our best to make sure that they have access to the president, to leaders-- throughout the White House and the government. But we want to make sure that it's fair coverage. And I think that's where I think a lot of the tension comes is when you take an issue out of context or try to create a narrative that isn't there.

GAYLE KING: But sometimes what you're saying there at the podium doesn't appear to jive with the facts of what's been presented with whatever the issue is. And I'm wondering how you deal with that.

SEAN SPICER: Well, again, we go up there every day armed with a set of facts that we have. And sometimes it becomes a game of gotcha which is someone comes in and says, "Well, I know this instead." And that-- that's-- if that's the game it's who can stump the chump-- then that's not really-- an-- an exercise in trying to get to the bottom of a situation.

If it's trying to figure out who can, you know, get the other person-- that's one thing. If it's an attempt to really understand an issue we get up there every day, we do a lot of prep to try to make sure that we've got all the facts and the figures.

But if someone's trying to figure out how they can-- how they can sneak a fast one on us and say, "Did you know that line 78 of that bill had this provision in it?" Well, then that's an honest attempt to really understand the news. We're around all day long.

The press briefings usually happen at 1:00. And I'm always amazed sometimes at-- at-- at a member of the press corps that has sat on an issue for five or six hours only because they want to play a gotcha -- you know, playing a gotcha question. If they're truly interested in getting to the bottom of the situation they'll be able to report out a story-- I applaud that. But the question sometimes you have to ask is what's the motive behind the-- the tone and the questions they're asking.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Sean Spicer, great to have you here.

SEAN SPICER: Thank you guys.

GAYLE KING: Are you watching Melissa McCarthy movies? 


GAYLE KING: Are you-- are you sick of it?

SEAN SPICER: --no, I-- I--

GAYLE KING: Or are you laughing with it? Or are you--

SEAN SPICER: You know what--

GAYLE KING: --how are you handling it?

SEAN SPICER: --I-- I-- I enjoy this job very much. And I-- I-- there's some-- there's-- it's-- it's fortunate when someone tells you they're praying for you or thinking of you, your family. But there's also-- there can be a little bit of criticism (LAUGH) that comes as well.