with names. He called the Downunder PM "Trumbull" instead of "Turnbull" and now he has called the Canadian PM "Joe Trudeau" instead of "Justin Trudeau". I don't know whether it is incompetence, carelessness, or calculated to insult.
People like you to get their name right. They like you to remember their name. It makes them believe that they are sufficiently important to you to remember them.
I am not as good with names as I would like to be but I hope I am no worse than most people. At very least I know it is important to remember them if I can.
I never like being labelled with a name tag but I recognise it is necessary sometimes. It's polite because no, not everyone knows me. Why should they? I am not important in their lives. I may never have met them before. I may never meet them again.
The Senior Cat used to be quite good with names. It might be a teacher thing. He would know the name of almost every child in a school of 600 - for the time that he needed to know them. Once he moved on to a new school he would forget the old names and start remembering the new names.
It was rather the same with laws cases. I would remember many names - until I had passed the necessary exam. I knew I wasn't going to need the information again. A few have stuck but the rest have gone. The group I "hung out" with at law school said the same thing. We all just forgot most of the information. Hopefully, for those who went on to actually work in law, the principles of the cases stuck in their minds.
A friend who works at a very high level as an interpreter/translator will learn specific vocabulary for a special meeting and then "forget" it again. She doesn't need it.
But there are jobs where you do need to remember things or write them down and have them on paper in front of you and you need to get them right. Diplomacy demands it. The Senior Cat's cousin who ended up at the top of the foreign affairs tree knew how very important that was and he made every effort to remember people - however briefly he had met them. Former Prime Ministers I have met more than once have shown they can do the same - for what must surely be the most insignificant of people in their lives.
So Mr Spicer needs to do better. He is talking on behalf of the person generally considered to be the most powerful in the world. If he can't get names right then how can he expect his boss to do it? Does it matter? Yes, I think it does.