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Why Is Sean Spicer Tweeting About Lyft?

We investigate.
Spicer in November 2017. Photograph by Evy Mages.

On his way from Ronald Reagan National Airport to his home in Alexandria Tuesday night, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer fired off a tweet that quickly lit up the rest of Twitter. This message wasn’t about President Trump, or a personal appearance, or even a promotion of his newest podcast. It was merely an announcement of a task so ingrained in modern life that it’s turned a trademarked name into a verb: Sean Spicer wanted you to know that he Lyfted.

When I first saw the tweet percolate onto my feed, I had to squint and double check we had not returned to 2010, when I would post my recent fashion haul from Delia*s on Facebook. Had Spicer not taken a rideshare before? Was this all an elaborate scam from Lyft to get me to stop using Uber? What’s with that large space between the sentences? A Lyft spokesperson tersely told me it was not sponsored content: “No, Lyft has no partnership of any kind with Sean Spicer.” Clearly there was only one way to get the answers I needed: Give Spicer a call and ask him about this cryptic and mysterious tweet.

Washingtonian: So what inspired this tweet in the first place?

Spicer: I was flying into Reagan, and once I land I normally get an Uber. But on Tuesday it was difficult in terms of car availability. You couldn’t get a ride. And I had Lyft downloaded on my phone. Many of my friends told me how great it was to use. So I thought, “you know what? I should sign up and enter my credit card number.” Within two and a half minutes, I was in a car. I realized this was a heck of a lot easier.

When I first saw your tweet I thought perhaps you had not been in a rideshare before. But you’ve been in Ubers, you said.

Oh, yeah. I mean, I take Uber probably 15 times a week in some form or another. But you should have seen Reagan. Getting out of there? It was a mess. Uber tells you it’s two minutes away and then they’re not.

Is commuting out of DCA really that tough?

I think there’s even a hashtag called Uber at Reagan. [Author’s note: I couldn’t find this exact hashtag, but the Twitter search results for “Reagan airport uber” are a real doozy, and even feature complaints from other prominent DC figures like ABC’s White House Correspondent, Jon Karl.] If you talk to anyone who flies in and out of Reagan on a regular basis…they’ll tell you.

So am I hearing that you’re a Lyft convert?

Well, I’ve only taken it twice. Once from the airport and again when I flew out of DCA this week. But until Uber fixes their service, I’ll stick with Lyft. They have a 2 for 2.

Did your first Lyft driver recognize you?

Yeah, he did.

Do drivers typically know who you are?

Drivers usually know. But I’ve never had a bad experience. They are always extremely pleasant and professional.

What do you talk to the drivers about?

Typical stuff. Where I was traveling to or from, how I am, what I am up to now. Some people, I’m sure, just keep their mouths shut rather than say anything negative.

Have they asked you any weird things?

A lot of times they ask if I can get a picture or selfie with them. One pulled over and took a photo of us. One time a driver asked me to call his friend and say hello.

And you’re not getting any VIP perks?

The most exciting thing I’ve come across is a phone charger. You mentioned the response to my Twitter. I haven’t seen [the response] yet. What are people saying?

I think it’s a mix. You have some people using it as memes, or just funny content on their feeds. Then you have some roasting and teasing about you actually driving the Lyft. And then the expected trolly stuff.

Generally speaking, people are not kind.

Do you typically look at this stuff?

I tend not to look at the replies. For the most part it’s not where I go to seek personal affirmation. [Spicer then takes a beat to read the top responses to his tweet. He laughs when he gets to a jab by comedian Dave Weasel.] “They managed to pick you up from the hedges?” That’s funny.

Do you have a good sense of humor about these things?

Yeah, for the most part.

Look, there’s even a Melissa McCarthy GIF. Did you see that she got a nom from the Golden Globes?

[He laughs, addresses McCarthy] You’re welcome.

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Brittany Shepherd joined Washingtonian as a staff writer in June 2018. She previously covered the White House for Independent Journal Review. She currently lives in Navy Yard.