Spicer resigns from White House team, sources say
Now PlayingWhite House press secretary Sean Spicer resigns
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday in a move apparently tied to the hiring of a new top communications aide, marking a major shakeup in the president’s press shop at an already tumultuous time.
Speculation about Spicer’s status with the White House has run rampant for months, but the appointment of Scaramucci was seen as a deciding factor in his resignation.
Spicer originally was supposed to lead a newly restructured communications operation. Under that structure, the communications director would report to him — which may have caused a conflict with Scaramucci. And Spicer reportedly questioned the hiring.
His departure comes as Trump has shown growing frustration with the ongoing Russia meddling probe and the massive attention it receives in the media. Spicer has defended Trump throughout the controversy, but had taken on a lower-profile role in recent weeks.
Spicer’s daily briefings were a must-see event during the opening months of the Trump presidency. But Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has since taken the lead on many daily press briefings — which mostly are held off camera and no longer televised live.
However, Sanders is slated to hold an on-camera briefing Friday at 2 p.m. ET
While Spicer is close to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Priebus told The Associated Press that he supports Scaramucci “100 percent.”
“We go back a long, long way and are very good friends,” Priebus said of Scaramucci. “All good here.”
Spicer’s abrupt exit also came on a busy day for changes in Trump’s inner circle.
News broke overnight on the resignation of Mark Corallo, who had been the lead spokesman on behalf of Trump’s long-time personal attorney Marc Kasowitz and the legal team. Corallo, who was previously a spokesman for the Justice Department, reportedly objected to public criticisms of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His resignation followed Trump telling The New York Times that he didn’t want Mueller investigating Trump family business ties outside the Russia scope.
Kasowitz, meanwhile, is stepping back to take a lower-profile role.
A source said Kasowitz will continue to give his input and guidance to the president, as well as all members of the outside counsel.
Meanwhile, Scaramucci, who supported Trump during the general election, is expected to fill the White House role that has remained vacant since Mike Dubke’s resignation in May. His background is in the financial ranks of New York, having founded a global hedge fund. He later worked with Trump’s team during the campaign and transition and more recently was named senior vice president and chief strategy officer of the Export-Import Bank in June.
Spicer’s departure marks the end of a rocky tenure in which the president’s top spokesman at times struggled to keep pace with Trump’s sometimes-chaotic leadership style — and a swirl of controversies.
During the 2016 election cycle, Spicer was the chief strategist and communications director of the Republican National Committee. He later came to the White House along with Priebus, the former RNC chairman who is now Trump’s chief of staff.
Spicer hasn’t had the rosiest relationship with the media since joining the White House. He’s clashed with reporters over “fake news” and said repeatedly the president was fed up with news reports that were “patently false.”
In February, he came under fire for barring reporters from several media outlets from participating in a scheduled press briefing.
His prickly relationship with the press was widely mocked on “Saturday Night Live” with Melissa McCarthy playing Spicer.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.