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Sean Spicer Out As White House Press Secretary

Spicer

Just one day after the six-month anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned in the wake of what appears to be a shakeup in the White House communications staff:

WASHINGTON — Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday morning, telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Mr. Trump offered Mr. Scaramucci the job at 10 a.m. The president requested that Mr. Spicer stay on, but Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, according to person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

Mr. Scaramucci, who founded the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital and is a Fox News Channel contributor, is known for his spirited on-air defense of Mr. Trump, but he also enjoys good relationships with journalists from an array of outlets, including those the president has labeled “fake news.”

Mr. Spicer’s turbulent tenure as the president’s top spokesman was marked by a combative style with the news media that spawned a caricature of him on “Saturday Night Live.”

His rumored departure has been one of the longest-running internal sagas in an administration brimming with dissension and intrigue. A former Republican National Committee spokesman and strategist, Mr. Spicer was a frequent target of the president’s ire — and correctives — during the first few months of the administration.

His resignation is a blow to the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought Mr. Spicer into the West Wing despite skepticism from Mr. Trump, who initially questioned his loyalty.

Mr. Scaramucci was to meet with Mr. Priebus on Friday, according to a West Wing official — and applause could be heard in the second-floor communications hallway when Mr. Scaramucci was introduced.

During the transition, Mr. Trump had planned to appoint Mr. Scaramucci, a 52-year-old Harvard Law graduate from Long Island, as director of his office of public liaison, but the offer was pulled at the request of Mr. Priebus over concerns about Mr. Scaramucci’s overseas investments.

His appointment Friday came two months after the previous communications director, Mike Dubke, stepped down. Mr. Trump was frustrated with Mr. Priebus over the slow pace of finding a replacement, according to a half-dozen people familiar with the situation.

Mr. Trump made the appointment over the objection of Mr. Priebus, who thought Mr. Scaramucci lacked the requisite organizational or political experience. But the president believed Mr. Scaramucci, a ferocious defender of Mr. Trump’s on cable television, was best equipped to play the same role in-house, and he offered him a role with far-reaching powers independent of Mr. Priebus’s.

On some level, Spicer’s departure is hardly a surprise since it has been rumored for some time now. Virtually from the beginning of the Administration, there have been reports from sources inside the Administration indicating that the President was displeased with Spicer’s performance on the job at various points over the past six months. More often than not, those reports have indicated that the displeasure came from the fact that Trump believed that Spicer was not being aggressive enough in pushing back against what Trump and those around him view as being a ‘biased’ White House Press Corps. There have also been rumors at various points in the past six months that Trump was on the verge of firing Spicer and others in the inner White House circle as it has become clearer and clearer that the Administration has been an utter failure at anything resembling a coherent communications strategy. In that regard, the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci, who has appeared on cable news shows as one of the more outspoken surrogates for the Administration, can be seen as an effort to undercut Spicer since he would be taking a job that Spicer was also handling in addition to being Press Secretary. Finally, Spicer has been mostly on the sidelines in recent months since the increasingly rare White House press briefings have been handled by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has now been named as the new White House Press Secretary.

While much of the narrative of the coverage of today’s personnel changes at the White House have been portrayed as being somewhat sympathetic to Spicer’s fate, the truth of the matter is that he knew what he was getting into. Before coming to the White House a Press Secretary and Communications Director, Spicer worked for the Trump campaign and was front and center for all of the utter foolishness that campaign represented. On the President’s first full day in office, he went out in front of the White House Press Corps and repeated what were rather obvious lies about the size of the crowd on Inauguration Day. From that day forward, he should have known what he was getting himself into. So, don’t feel sorry for Sean Spicer. He did this too himself.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Mr. Scaramucci’s overseas investments

    Oh, have they had time to clean these up? Have they checked and double-checked this guy for any possible contacts with Russians?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. KM says:

    Goddamnit, just when SNL was getting its groove back. Come on Spicey, take one for the team! We’ll hold a GoFundME for your anxiety meds and therapy, promise!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. Gobsmacked says:

    Scaramucci, does he do the fandango?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  4. James Pearce says:

    This strikes me as not a very big deal…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    Here Sean, let me show you the door.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. teve tory says:

    @Franklin:

    Oh, have they had time to clean these up? Have they checked and double-checked this guy for any possible contacts with Russians?

    I’m sure he had to provide Russian references to get the job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. CSK says:

    In view of the fact that Spicer obviously left on very bad terms, and clearly knows a lot of dirt, I’m wondering how many publishers are hoping he’ll do a tell-all.

    Sean, here’s my advice: Hire Robert Barnett. If anyone can get you a seven-figure book contract, it’s Barnett. He handles all the D.C. heavy hitters.

    And Sean? If you promise to come clean about your ex-boss, I promise to buy the book. Scout’s honor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Trump’s attempt to create his very own Kickstarter.

    The last sentence is the zinger.

    And like his political campaign, Trump launched it with a lot of big promises — only to lose interest once the real work started.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    Well, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the new press secretary.

    And Scaramucci went on television today to apologize for trashing Trump publicly, calling him “a political hack,” during the campaign.

    This is going to be fun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    That worked out well. I’m sure this will work out even better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. CSK says:

    Spicer’s going to stay on through August.

    Spicer, Preibus, and Scaramucci will be appearing in tandem on Fox tonight.

    Cue The Twilight Zone theme music.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. MarkedMan says:

    It is fascinating to witness the effects of Trump’s bullying alpha rituals have on people. Of course, we east coasters have seen for literally decades that anyone who rubs up against Trump comes away covered in sh*t. But there is a certain type that becomes hypnotized by the obnoxious displays, become helplessly infatuated by that Bronx accent putting those d*mn losers in their place and showing them what a tough guy looks like. Spicer was one of those.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Gobsmacked:

    Scaramucci, does he do the fandango?

    Magnifico-o-o-o !

    From what I hear… he’s just a poor boy, fropm a poor family.

    Scaramucci made a few statements:

    As to Spicer: Easy come, easy go.

    As to Trump and his various heath care positions: Nothing really matters, Anyone can see… Any way the wind blows.

    (*** gooooooooooooonnnnnng *** )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. Gustopher says:

    Oh, poor Spicey… I was looking forward to him degrading himself for years to come. Has he really run out of dignity so fast?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Well, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the new press secretary.”

    She was looking tired and stressed.

    Good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. DrDaveT says:

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer mustelid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. de stijl says:

    @Barry:

    She looks that way because intentionally killing your own soul is very draining.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  18. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    She’s young. She committed career suicide. Why? She loves and believes in a con man/buffoon/oaf that much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  19. CSK says:

    Whoopsie. Jared Kushner has to amend his financial disclosure form because he “forgot” to disclose a mere 77 of his assets, including his art collection and a real estate start-up with Goldman Sachs and George Soros in 2014.

    His lawyers say this was a mere administrative error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. Hal_10000 says:

    This just shows, once again, that loyalty to Trump is a one-way street.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Daddy issues?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. Modulo Myself says:

    You have to give Trump props for knowing his audience. Spicer might have been soulless but he came from somewhere normal. Scaramucci sounds like a coked-up douchebag yammering into the ear of a bored D-List model who wishes he would screw her for 10 seconds and get it over with. He’s perfect for the job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @DrDaveT:..must you resort to using weasel words?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    @DrDaveT:..must you resort to using weasel words?

    Awww Bluster… you otter not go there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself: Seen on Twitter: “Anthony Scaramucci seems like he was assembled in a laboratory from the throwaway parts of lesser frat bros.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. Anonne says:

    @CSK:

    She’s young. She committed career suicide. Why? She loves and believes in a con man/buffoon/oaf that much?

    No, she hasn’t. She proved her loyalty and there is plenty of wingnut welfare to go around for people like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Tony W says:

    I, for one, will miss Shouty Spice up there reprimanding the press corps for shaking their heads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Barry says:

    @CSK: “She’s young. She committed career suicide. Why? She loves and believes in a con man/buffoon/oaf that much?”

    Listen to her farther, Mike Huckabee. This apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. Moosebreath says:

    An account of Spicer’s last meeting before his firing from Michael Smerconish:

    “We shared a laugh in his White House office during what I now realize was his final appointment as press secretary.

    I knew it was time to leave when Sarah Huckabee Sanders popped her head in the door. My final comment to him on the way out the door referenced “eight years.”

    He laughed. He had to know.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. gVOR08 says:

    Despite constant practice, Spicer seemed to remain a little self conscious about bald faced lying. On brief exposure, Scaramucci not so much.

    The man is a walking advertisement for killing the carried interest deduction and reinstating a 90% top rate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Not fair to mustelidae; they’re FAR more winsome and attractive that SHS!

    https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrTcdy3lXNZyB8A_jUPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=mustelid&fr=yhs-avast-brwsr001&hspart=avast&hsimp=yhs-brwsr001

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: I think she’s trying to make up for all that her father wasn’t able to accomplish by selling HIS soul.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0