"As the man charged with leading the Trump White House’s communications shop, Spicer is in the unenviable position of having to respond to reports that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is both wildly corrupt and financially linked to a Russian billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin. There aren’t really any good responses to that particular PR fiasco, but some are worse than others. Spicer has opted to insult the intelligence of everyone within range of his voice by arguing that Manafort, who led the Trump campaign for several months, was barely even involved with the effort to get Trump elected. On Monday Spicer argued that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign. On Thursday Spicer described Manafort as “a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months,” likening the former campaign chief to someone “who sat next to [Trump] on the plane” or “who [Trump] grew up with in grade school.” This is all ridiculous, especially given that Spicer is making this case in front of reporters who covered the Trump campaign and are well aware of the critical role Manafort played."