In case the current political news wasn’t stomach-churning enough, here’s an actual digestive nightmare to add to the list of things you’re losing sleep over: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer chews and swallows gum two and a half packs of gum every morning. We know this because of a small detail unearthed from an August 2016 profile in the Washington Post. There is, for some reason, a whole paragraph dedicated to Spicer’s mouth, about how it yells and presumably says more “alternative truths,” but also what goes into it. “This is the face of today’s Republican Party: The nose is pinched, the hair is sandy blond, the eyes are intense,” it reads. “But all you really need to know can be seen in the mouth… Even when he is not speaking, it works on overdrive, churning through pieces of Orbit cinnamon gum, which he chews and swallows whole. Notwithstanding his line of work, the man just can’t stand a gross-feeling mouth.”
Specifically, Spicer chews “two and a half packs by noon.”
“I talked to my doctor about it,” he explains. “He said it’s no problem.”
There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s start from the beginning. Cinnamon? I mean, no disrespect to cinnamon, but it’s a seasoning, not a main dish. It’s called the “cinnamon challenge” for a reason, and I for one find it incredibly alarming that our new Press Secretary can get through two and a half packs of the stuff. If we’re accepting the premise that it’s normal to eat gum,which I’m not fully on board with, either, I’d at the very least be willing to accept it with something a little more neutral, like mint.
But what I simply cannot condone is the sheer magnitude of Spicer’s habit—two and a half packs. If we’re assuming there are fourteen pieces of gum in each box, that’s 35 pieces of gum (equivalent to, what I call, a “glob”) each morning. And that’s just the morning! What happens in the afternoon? Does his consumption continue at a steady rate, eventually reaching five boxes by the evening? Does he eat real food as well, or is he always full? Sure, maybe this habit stops his mouth from being “gross-feeling,” but at what cost to his stomach?
I was skeptical about Spicer’s claim that his doctor gave the all-clear for this vice, but turns out, it’s more of a societal taboo than a digestive one.
“While chewing gum is meant to be chewed and not swallowed, there is generally no harm done if it is swallowed,” says Dr. Robert Korn, Medical Director at Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care. “Gum that is sent through your digestive tract does not get properly broken up and digested, but it is still sent through your body and excreted fairly normally.”
However, there is one possible side effect. “If large amounts of gum are swallowed, constipation or blocked intestines can be a result,” Dr.Korn added. “Especially in children.”
Regardless, I’m against it. And don’t even get me started on his feud with Dippin Dots.