Sean Spicer on his tumultuous time serving President Trump

The former White House press secretary says he "made mistakes" during his tenure and reveals what the president thought of his Emmy cameo.
7:52 | 09/22/17

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Transcript for Sean Spicer on his tumultuous time serving President Trump
Did you always tell the truth from the podium? To the best of my ability, absolutely. Did the president ask you to lie or manipulate the truth? No. Reporter: Front and center for the tumultuous first six months of the trump administration, white house press secretary Sean spicer. I walked out every day with the facts that I could gather that I had at the time and tried to do the best I could every day. Reporter: It was a contentious relationship from the get-go. Sean! Sean! Sean! Reporter: Spicer setting the tone by chastising the press corps about the crowd size at president trump's inauguration. This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period. The photographic evidence was contradictory. I think it might have been better to be a lot more specific with what we were talking about in terms of the universe, not focused so much on photographic evidence, et cetera. So, yes, from that standpoint, I think I could have probably had more facts at hand and been more articulate in describing, you know, the entirety of what that day was about. Did the president ask you to defend the crowd size? Or was that your idea? He didn't ask me to defend it. I think he wanted to make sure we set the record straight. Again, people were looking at photographs, making vast judgments as to how many people were attending. Reporter: A rocky start that never seemed to improve. I'm sorry, please stop shaking your head again. Okay, you don't get to just yell questions. We're going to raise our hands like big boys and girls. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. Okay, next -- Reporter: Spicer stands by his work in the white house. Sometimes we can disagree with the facts. You said, "If you lose the respect and trust of the press corps, you've got nothing." Do you feel you lost the trust of the press corps? Some of them. Again, I knew -- Do you understand why? In some cases I do. Again, I also think it's amazing what a one-way street it is. Reporter: Perhaps the most famous and infamous press secretary in history, portrayed on "Saturday night live" by Melissa Mccarthy. I would like to begin today by apologizing on behalf of you, to me. Reporter: And having a demanding boss didn't make spicer's job any easier. Let's just talk about president trump. Some of the statements, some of the tweets, the veracity has definitely been challenged. Was he ever tough to defend? He's always said, and he means it, and he's right that he's always his best spokesperson. He knows what he wants to say, how to say it. That makes it tough for a spokesperson. Sure it does, absolutely. No one said this was going to be easy. I knew what I was getting into. Did you really, though? No one knows until you take the job. The scrutiny and a lot of the other stuff that comes in with it. I would probably argue the stress level. Donald Trump's been the same individual for 71 years. I knew who he was, how he communicated. And it all came with the job. You said one of the challenges of being press secretary is the president felt he's his best spokesman. I would imagine he probably at times guided you on what he wanted you to say. Absolutely. Absolutely? Marching orders, he's the boss. He's the boss. Again, I think that you've got to remember what the world -- the job is to speak on his behalf. And to share with the press corps and the American people what the president's thinking. And so my -- the first rule is to make sure that I'm getting that right from him. Reporter: His stint in the white house was marked by a string of controversies. Let's talk about one serious allegation, the travel ban. You said that it unequivocally wasn't a travel ban, president trump as you know tweeded, this is a travel ban no matter what anybody says. Why did you never correct that? I would definitely say I wish we'd been more consistent from the beginning in terms of terms we use and goals we're trying to achieve. You'd like a do-over on that? Sure, I'll take a mulligan on that one. Reporter: The unexpected firing of FBI director James Comey. Breaking developments. The fallout now after the firing of FBI director James Comey. Terminated by president trump with this letter. Comey was leading the investigation over trump's campaign in Russia -- Reporter: Contradicting stories as to why Comey had been let go. The president over the last several months lost confidence in director Comey. Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey. This Russia thing with trump and Russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse. Once you learn the truth behind what was really going on, why didn't you set the record straight? You don't feel you have an obligation to set the record straight? He set it straight. My job is to help give voice to what his thinking when is he can't do it himself. In that case he did it himself. Reporter: The firing led to the point of special counsel Robert Mueller. Let's talk about the Russia issue. Has the Mueller team reached out to you at all? I'm not going to discuss that issue. Have you hired a lawyer? I'm not going to discuss that issue. Have you been subpoenaed? I'm not going to discuss that issue. Have you heard in the white house fueler is going to be fired? I'm not going to discuss that issue. If approached will you testify? The white house has been very clear they're going to be cooperative as possible. You're not under the auspices of the white house anymore. I understand that but there's an issue of executive privilege and as long as that's not invoked I will do everything to further do my part to further this investigation coming to a swift conclusion. Reporter: Through it all spicer weathered the plil call storms. Until Anthony scaramucci was named the new communications director. Was his hiring the impetus for leaving? Yes. Why? I've noemp known Anthony for a while. Not close. Anthony wanted to be involved in the administration in some capacity. He had been a strong advocate for the president and wanted a position. I just don't think that he had the skill set and the qualifications and the background to play a leading role crafting the communications messaging team. I did not think that I would work well with him. Reporter: Scaramucci lasted only ten days. Spicer, another month. He is now evaluating new offers and even made a cameo at the Emmy awards. This will be the largest audience to witness an emmys, period! Have you spoken with the president about your cameo? I have. And what did he say? He was very supportive. He thought I did a great B. It was very reassuring. Some argue the reason you did it is because this is step one in trying to rehab your image. I feel very good with my many man. I'm very happy with myself. I am able to go out and explain a tour, I'm out having some fun. Reporter: It might be fun for spicer, but for his many critics it is too soon to celebrate someone who they believe has not been honest with the American people. People have hard feelings toward you. I understand that. They feel you lied to the American people. Have you ever lied to the American people? I don't think so. You don't think so? No, I don't cheat on my taxes -- Unequivocally you can say no? Again, you want to find something -- I've not knowingly done anything to do that, no. Any regrets about the combative relationship with the press corps? I've made mistakes, I think new year's no question we all do. Some of theme I've tried to own very publicly. In some cases there were things I did that until somebody brought it up, gosh, I didn't realize that was a mistake, I'm sorry about that. But to watch person tacks, questioning my integrity, questioning what my intentions were, I think were really over the top. Reporter: To his detractors still unfinished business. So many Americans feel they deserve an apology from Sean spicer. Are they ever going to get one? I think that there are things that I did during my time there that I needed to go out and correct, I did that. Where there were mistakes made that I got something wrong, I think I've owned that. I know there's some folks that no matter what we say or do, everything we do was wrong and want a blanket apology, that's not happening. For "Nightline" I'm Paula Faris in Alexandra, Virginia.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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