Sean Spicer Resigns As Press Secretary In White House Communications Shake-Up
Updated at 3:02 p.m. ET
The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary, after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then named Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.
The personnel changes come six months after President Trump took office, at a time when his agenda is stalled and a special counsel is widening the investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
At the briefing addressed the White House's sometimes tense relationship with journalists, saying the president has been doing an "amazing job," but there's been "a disconnect between the way we see the president, and how much we love the president and the way perhaps some of you see the president." He added, "we want to get that message out there."
Scaramucci, 53, has a law degree from Harvard, and worked at Goldman Sachs before forming his own investment firm, SkyBridge Capital. He hosted Wall Street Week and appeared on Fox Business Channel, where in 2015 he criticized then-candidate Trump as a "political hack," a remark he said Friday the president reminds him of every "15 seconds" and for which he said apologized to the president.
Spicer formally tweeted word of his resignation after it had been reported by multiple media reports.
Sanders read a statement from Trump during Friday's briefing, saying he was grateful for Spicer's work, and that "I wish him continued success, as he moves on to pursue other opportunities," adding "just look at his great television ratings."
Prior to joining the Trump administration, Spicer had been communications director for the Republican National Committee after stints as spokesman for House Republicans and for George W. Bush's trade representative.
As Trump's spokesman, Spicer had an embattled tenure at the White House. His briefings with reporters were contentious from the president's first days in office, when Spicer falsely said the size of the crowds at Trump's inauguration were larger than at President Obama's.
He was mocked on NBC's Saturday Night Live in a caricature played by Melissa McCarthy. As Spicer, she confessed the press secretary and the press corps had gotten off to a rocky start: "When I say rocky start, I mean in the sense of Rocky, the movie. Because I came out to punch you in the face. And also, I don't talk so good."
Spicer faced a difficult task at the White House, called on to defend and explain Trump's tweetstorms, while under the constant gaze of his boss, who at one point was said to have been unhappy with Spicer's wardrobe.
A devout Catholic, Spicer was kept out of Trump's audience with Pope Francis during a recent overseas trip.
In recent days, many of the White House briefings have been conducted by Sarah Sanders and off-camera.