Confirmed by White House officials, Sean Spicer resigned this morning from his position as White House press secretary. An unexpected turn of events, Spicer’s resignation occurred after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci as the new White house director of communications. Spicer expressed his strong opposition to Scaramucci before leaving.
The New York Times reports Trump did not ask Spicer to resign.
Before joining the Trump administration, Spicer worked as communications director and chief strategist for the Republican National Committee. His stint as Trump’s press secretary was rocky, marked by an adversarial relationship with the media and his disagreements with Trump over press handlings. Spicer banned television cameras from media briefings on several occasions, refused to take questions from reporters, and accused the media of partaking in “deliberately false reporting”. Spicer was also heavily criticized in April when he claimed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons, and referred to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers”. Although later apologizing and clarifying his remarks, the troubling gaffe left a bad impression upon many Americans.
Spicer’s resignation was perhaps less of a surprise to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who both opposed Scaramucci’s hiring as well. Bannon and Priebus were not consulted by Trump on his decision, and Priebus had previously tried to block Scaramucci from joining the administration, citing his lack of political experience as a drawback. Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and major RNC donor, has strongly defended President Trump in interviews regarding the Russia scandal; White House officials hope he will be an asset in Trump’s mission for tax reform.