Sean Spicer resigns as Trump press secretary after six months

Jul 21, 2017 by

The controversial spokesman was known for testy exchanges with reporters amid tumultuous tenure as administration’s public face

Six bizarre moments we won’t let Sean Spicer forget – video report

Sean Spicer has resigned as White House press secretary, bringing to an end a tumultuous six months as the public face of Donald Trump’s administration.

Spicer stepped down after the president reportedly tapped Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and longtime Trump supporter, as the new White House communications director.

The White House had been without a communications director since May, when Mike Dubke resigned from the role in the first personnel shakeup of the Trump administration. Spicer had taken on the responsibilities associated with the job in the interim and strongly opposed Trump’s decision to hire Scaramucci, according to reports.

After reports broke of Spicer’s resignation, there were scenes of a scrum in the White House’s James S Brady Press Briefing room, where he had previously held forth to champion the administration, but his presence on camera had become increasingly rare.

Reporters were were barred from the upper press hallway, near Spicer’s former office, and jammed into the lower press area adjacent to the briefing room.

The White House said the deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would give an on-camera briefing at 2pm ET.

Spicer’s future behind that room’s podium had long been tenuous, as his tenure was marked by almost continuous controversy.

From his very first appearance before the cameras, when he angrily chastised the media over the crowd size at Trump’s presidential inauguration, Spicer swiftly emerged as ridiculed figure for his aggressive attitude towards journalists, false statements and gaffes.

Perhaps the most damaging blow to Spicer came during Trump’s first foreign trip as president, when the press secretary, a devout Catholic, was shut out of a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Spicer’s presence behind the podium was substantially scaled back following the trip, with Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy White House press secretary, regularly conducting the daily briefings.

One of Spicer’s most egregious gaffes came in April, when, in an attempt to highlight the barbarity of Syria’s embattled president Bashar al-Assad, Spicer stated that “not even Hitler” employed the use of chemical weapons, despite the fact that Nazis killed millions with poison gas during the Holocaust.

Spicer apologized repeatedly, saying he had “made a mistake” and “screwed up”.

It was one of a series of gaffes in his short career as Trump’s press secretary.

The Trump-Spicer marriage may have been destined for an early divorce from the start. Spicer, who previously worked as the communications director of the Republican National Committee, was the choice of the former RNC chair Reince Priebus, who, following the election, was appointed as Trump’s chief of staff. Long part of the Washington establishment, both Spicer and Priebus have often been viewed with skepticism by Trump supporters, even as they have proven fiercely loyal to the president.

Trump, however, questioned Spicer’s loyalty since early in his tenure, when the press secretary struggled to adjust to the high-profile role. The press briefings transformed into must-see TV, with millions tuning in daily to witness regular clashes between Spicer and the White House press corps.

In recent months, the briefings frequently occurred off camera, a move that Spicer said was taken in part to de-escalate the confrontational nature of the encounters.

“We’re not here to make it a spectacle,” Spicer told the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“We want to make sure that we do things that are informative and helpful to get the president’s message out, to answer the key questions.”

The saying nonetheless looming over Spicer’s on-camera appearances was that he was performing for an audience of one: the president.

Additional reporting by Ben Jacobs

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