White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, telling President Donald Trump that he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
The President requested Spicer to stay on, but Spicer told Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake, the New York Times cited a person in the know of the development.
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”.
Spicer’s rumoured departure has been one of the longest-running internal sagas in an administration brimming with dissension and intrigue. A former Republican National Committee spokesman and strategist, Spicer was a frequent target of the President’s ire – and correctives – during the first few months of the administration.
Spicer’s resignation was also a blow to the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought him into the West Wing despite scepticism from Trump, who initially questioned his loyalty.
Scaramucci was to meet Priebus on Friday, according to a West Wing official – and applause could be heard in the second-floor communications hallway when Scaramucci was introduced.
His appointment came two months after the previous communications director, Mike Dubke, stepped down. Trump was frustrated with Priebus over the slow pace of finding a replacement, according to people familiar with the situation.
Trump made the appointment over the objection of Priebus, who thought Scaramucci lacked the requisite organisational or political experience. But the President believed Scaramucci, a ferocious defender of Trump on cable television, was best equipped to play the same role in-house, and he offered him a role with far-reaching powers independent of Priebus’s.