One of the hot topics among journalists in the wake of President Trump's visit to Pope Francis on Wednesday isn't about policy differences. Instead, it's about the president's perceived snub to Sean Spicer. CNN reports that the press secretary, who is a practicing Catholic, is seething that he was left off the short list for the visit. Some expected names accompanied the president: Melania and Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, HR McMaster, and Rex Tillerson. But lesser-known aides Hope Hicks, Keith Schiller, and Dan Scavino were selected over Spicer. "Wow, that's all he wanted," a White House source tells the network, which adds that meeting the pope had been a "bucket list" item for the press chief.
Spicer has not commented publicly about the decision, but the Washington Post notes that an odd thing has happened: Journalists he dickers with on an almost daily basis were openly expressing sympathy for him. A typical sentiment: "This seems needlessly harsh," tweeted Maggie Haberman of the New York Times. "When else is Spicer likely to meet the Pope, and it mattered to him?" By all accounts, it mattered to him a great deal: Politico describes Spicer as a "devout" Catholic, noting that he took flak last year when he appeared on CNN with ashes on his forehead for Ash Wednesday. But it may be in line with an apparently diminished new role for the press secretary.