Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary

Trump gives praise in parting statement: ‘Just look at his great television ratings’

As US president Donald Trump celebrates 100 days in office, White House press secretary Sean Spicer marks his own 100 days of public prominence since he briefed the media on Trump's inauguration. Video: David Dunne

 

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned Friday after telling US president Donald Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

After offering Mr Scaramucci the communications job Friday morning, Mr Trump asked Mr Spicer to stay on as press secretary. But Mr Spicer told Mr Trump he believed the appointment of Mr Scaramucci was a major mistake and said he was resigning, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange.

In one of his first official acts, Mr Scaramucci, who founded the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital and is a Fox News contributor, joined Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mr Spicer’s chief deputy, in the White House briefing room and announced that she would succeed Mr Spicer as press secretary.

He said he had great respect for Mr Spicer, adding, “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.”

But he acknowledged the awkwardness of Mr Spicer’s resignation. “This is obviously a difficult situation to be in,” Mr Scaramucci said.

Ms Sanders said Mr Trump was grateful for Mr Spicer’s service and that the president believes Mr Spicer will succeed going forward. “Just look at his great television ratings,” Mr Trump said in a statement read by Ms Sanders.

Mr Spicer said it had been an “honour” and “privilege” to serve Mr Trump and the United States. 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.

He had hoped to last a year. but lasted six months and a day. Mr Spicer flatly rejected the president’s offer of a position subordinate to Mr Scaramucci, according to two administration officials familiar with the exchange.

Mr Spicer, according to several people close to him, was tired of being blindsided by Mr Trump, most recently this week when the president gave a lengthy interview to the New York Times in which he questioned his appointment of attorney general Jeff Sessions.

He was also weary of the daily dressings-down and instituted the highly contentious practice of holding off-air briefings, less so to snub reporters than to avoid Mr Trump’s critiques of his performance, according to one of Mr Spicer’s friends.

The appointment of Mr Scaramucci, a favorite of Mr Trump’s earliest campaign supporters, was backed by the president’s daughter Ivanka, his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, the officials said.

The job of press secretary, once regarded as among the most coveted slots in Washington, a steppingstone to fame and a big post-government payday, has lost much of its allure under a president who tweets his opinions and considers himself to be his best spokesman.

New York Times