Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told a natural gas industry conference in Pittsburgh that oil and gas drillers had a “huge friend in the Oval Office”. That huge friend is President Donald Trump, whose administration has targeted dozens of regulations that effect oil and gas drilling, a push which Spicer said was helping grow the economy.
Spicer pointed to a report from the Commerce Department that says 2nd quarter growth in the U.S. GDP was at 3.1 percent, the highest rate in 2 years.
“It’s not that the government did it. It’s that you did it,” he told the crowd of oil and gas industry executives at the 2017 Shale Insight Conference, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. “If we can get government out of the way in a smart way, industries like yours (can) make smart investments, make innovative technologies that bring back say, the manufacturing sector.”
Among the dozens of regulations the Trump administration has gone after is the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era rule aimed at lowering the amount of greenhouse gases from the electricity sector, and which favored renewable energy over coal.
Spicer left the White House in August, and signed with an agency to become a paid public speaker. A spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, which sponsors the event, said Spicer was paid for his speech, but declined to disclose terms of his contract.
Spicer praised the oil and gas industry, and said it wasn’t just good for domestic policy, but also for diplomacy. He singled out a deal in which the U.S. is selling natural gas to Poland.
“By Poland buying our natural gas, it’s a check on Russia. If you are concerned about the Russian influence overseas, suddenly now you have Poland and other places throughout that region buying U.S. gas.”
Spicer said it was an honor working as White House press secretary and that he was “eternally grateful” to President Trump for the opportunity.
Spicer spoke at length and with humor about his foibles as press secretary, the impersonations of him on SNL, and his adversarial relationship with the White House press corps.
He ruminated over one of the signature moments of his White House tour: the day after the inauguration, in which he told reporters the crowd at President Trump’s swearing-in ceremony was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” He recently said he ‘regretted’ those remarks, which were demonstrably false.
“We weren’t ready in the way that we should have been,” he said. “One of the lessons that I walked away with from Inauguration Day was if you’re going to go out and talk, make sure you’re ready to go with the facts — with every appropriate fact — or don’t answer the question.”