Sean Spicer found himself becoming a meme that went places few — if any — other political memes have gone.
After the White House press secretary claimed on Saturday that President Donald Trump's inauguration "was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe," — which photographic evidence showed, at the very least, it could not have been — the meme was born.
And it didn't take long for Spicer to spurn multiple hashtags, have his tweets mined, and see a photo of himself from the press briefing room go viral. There was even a Twitter Moment titled "It's a fact — Trump's press secretary has become a meme," and his five-year-long feud with Dippin' Dots was unearthed.
Most political memes remain confined to politics Twitter, circulated only by the Washington elite and journalism classes. But the Spicer meme was different, managing to spill out into the mainstream.
Spicer attempted to walk back his statement a bit during his Monday press briefing, claiming that he meant to refer to a combination of in-person and global viewers, but it was too late. The damage was already done.
The meme landed far beyond politics. The NHL's Dallas Stars claimed on their Jumbotron near the end of a Saturday-night game that the paid attendance was "1.5 million."
Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, also made a point of calling out Spicer on Saturday, and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr invoked a Spicer joke when speaking of his lackluster career with the Orlando Magic after he was addressed as "former Orlando Magic great."
"Yes, Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now," he told reporters Sunday. "14,000 points, greatest player in Magic history."
As if breaking through the typically politically free zone of pro sports were not enough, Spicer found himself being lampooned by video gamers too.
As New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman wrote, the early episode for Spicer looks as if it could be a defining mark on his stint as press secretary.