Steve Bannon shocked many when he offered his explanation for why White House press secretary Sean Spicer was holding less on-camera briefings.
"Sean got fatter," the strategist for President Donald Trump texted to the The Atlantic when questioned about the matter.
He did not elaborate further, nor did he indicate that he'd been joking, causing many to raise their eyebrows.
Some were angered by Bannon's reply.
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"This administration's contempt for the intellect of the American people is astonishing," wrote one Daily Mail reader. "'Yeah, just tell 'em anything, they'll swallow.'"
"Wow," chimed in another. "This guy's a d***. I didn't think I had it in me to feel sorry for Spicey but I kinda do. He couldn't possibly make enough money to put up with this."
"What?" quipped a third. "Did they make him stand on a scale everyday? What a load of malarkey. It's illegal for any employer to fire or demote someone for gaining weight (um, try that with a pregnant woman and see where that gets yah) unless it was in his contract. Trump and Bannon are big bullies who obviously look at themselves in fun house mirrors. That little text was unprofessional...pretty sure there is a theme here. SMH."
A few accused Bannon of hypocrisy for making such a remark.
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"It's not like Bannon is a symbol of health," commented one person.
"That's rich, coming from Bannon, who looks like he's going to give birth," quipped a second.
"They're all getting fatter: fatter bellies, butts and bank accounts," a third person said.
Yet others thought people were taking the comments too seriously. To some, it was clearly a joke.
"Humorless liberals, as usual, can't get the joke," wrote one individual. "You would think they'd get tired of being so serious and angry all the time. Lighten up!"
Bannon's comment was just one of the many explanations offered for Spicer's fewer on-camera briefings.
Some experts believe it's because Trump is trying to limit media access.
"It feels like we’re slowly but surely being dragged into what is a new normal in this country, where the president of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions," Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, remarked.
Already the White House has changed "briefings" to "gaggles," which are shorter and off-camera, while President Trump has publicly contemplated canceling press briefings altogether.
"Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???" Trump tweeted May 12.