Mild spoilers are ahead. Considering that Netflix’s Army of the Dead is written and directed by Zack Snyder, you probably knew going in that something was going to make you cover your eyes in sheer horror. Zombies have taken over Las Vegas and driven all humans out of the city, as they destroy everything in their path and feast on flesh. They’re dirty, disgusting, and downright gross, but they may not be the only thing in Army of the Dead that makes you want to avert your eyes.
Shortly after the film begins, a few of the characters watch a news program on the movie's version of CNN, in which Donna Brazile, an American political strategist and former acting Chair of the Democratic National Committee debates former White House Press Secretary and one-time Dancing with the Stars contestant (eliminated in week 9) Sean Spicer. You know, this guy:
Even for Snyder, the scene is a little weird and, as is his signature, a bit too much.
In the world of the movie, during a segment called “Quarantine: Truth or Scare” (which, coming out of the last year, hits a little too close to home), Spicer and Brazile go back and forth about what to do about the refugee camp on the outskirts of Vegas. The government has kept these citizens confined to this area, fearful that they might be infected with the zombie virus, too. But now that the president has decided to launch a missile at the city, wiping out all the zombies, no one knows what to do with the remaining humans just outside. There’s talk of relocation, but the government is iffy about it. These people could be infected, but there's no actual proof that they carry the virus. While Brazile argues that the U.S.'s flimsy methods of testing for who could carry the virus could lead to civil rights abuses, Spicer's POV in the brief segment, seems to be that blindly bombing Vegas is just like "testing nukes in the Nevada desert."
Spider’s appearance is very brief, but his presence manages to linger — and that’s saying something, considering there are hundreds of zombie heads blown off throughout the rest of the movie. Spicer hasn’t commented about his brief appearance in the film (it’s not like Netflix brought him on the press tour). But of those who've already watched the film on Netflix, there is a lot of confusion — and anger — over Donald Trump's first press secretary, with a confirmed record of lying to the American public, showing up in a blockbuster-style zombie movie. The surprise cameo is not only unnecessary, but it's jarring: what business would he have explaining the zombie situation on television in Army of the Dead anyway?
Well, though the movie does not specify the dates of its events, considering some of the rhetoric attributed to the unseen president in the film, it sure does seem that the 45th President of the United States is in power during the events of Army of the Dead. A newscaster says that the president thinks the nuclear weapons intended to destroy Vegas are “really cool" and “the ultimate fireworks show.” The president also suggests that since the bombing of Vegas is happening around the fourth of July, the whole thing is “actually kinda patriotic if you think about it.” These details very thinly explain why someone like Spicer — who currently has his own show on conservative network Newsmax — would be on TV debating Brazile in this alternate reality version of the U.S.
But this movie seems to pretty clearly hold contempt for the Trump administration, so the question remains: did the summer blockbuster really need to give more screen time to Spicer?
Correction: A previous version of this article included a parenthetical that named a studio that did not produce Army of the Dead.