Iowa GOP lands Sean Spicer as Reagan Dinner speaker

Then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a press briefing Jan. 23 at the White House. Spicer has been invited to speak Nov. 8 at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Reagan Dinner. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Then-White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a press briefing Jan. 23 at the White House. Spicer has been invited to speak Nov. 8 at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Reagan Dinner. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel will be the featured speaker at Iowa Republicans’ annual Reagan Dinner next month, but the undercard is getting most of the attention.

That’s because former presidential press secretary Sean Spicer, who has been spoofed on “Saturday Night Live,” will be giving the GOP faithful in insider’s view of the Trump White House.

Spicer, 46, who left the White House in August, gained attention from actress-comedian Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal on SNL for his often heated skirmishes with the White House press corps.

“Ironically, I think that the SNL skits have given him a celebrity status that will make people listen to him a little bit more carefully,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann, who got to know Spicer when he worked in communications for the RNC. “I’ve been a friend of his and kept in touch through the ups and downs and the tension of being the first press secretary for the president.”

Spicer and McDaniel will speak Nov. 8 at the annual dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. All Iowa GOP federal and statewide elected officials have been invited. Tickets start at $100 at www.eventbrite.com.

Earlier this week, the Iowa Democratic Party announced that Alec Baldwin, 59, an actor and comedian who portrays President Donald Trump on SNL, will be the headliner at its Nov. 27 Fall Gala, formerly known as the Jefferson Jackson Dinner. A link to tickets — $50 for bleacher seats and $125 for dinner — is at iowademocrats.org.

Kaufmann expects that Spicer will provide a good time for the Reagan Dinner audience and may attract Trump supporters who might not have attended previous party events.

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“He may bring in individuals who make connection between him and SNL, but who aren’t passionate about politics,” Kaufmann said.

McDaniel, he added, likely will appeal to more establishment Republicans with her insight into what’s going on inside of high-level Republican politics.

He also hopes the dinner and Iowa Republicans make a good impression on McDaniel, 44, who as national chairwoman “has a lot of influence on whether Iowa maintains its first-in-the-nation status.”

“She has been very, very supportive,” Kaufmann said. The Iowa GOP also is bringing in other members of the RNC to “continue to educate them on what it takes to put on a caucus and why Iowa is a good spot to start.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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