Spicer Out; Scaramucci in as Communications Director 0

Embattled Presidential press secretary Sean Spicer announced that he has resigned his position, but will remain on for five weeks to ease incoming Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci into his job.  Spicer, 45, served as secretary for just over six months, one of the shortest terms of office for modern press secretaries. His tenure was marked by frequent confrontations with reporters during White House press briefings. His outbursts during his tenure turned him into a frequent target for late night talk shows, MSNBC commentators,  and for Saturday Night Live, where he was viciously satirized by Melissa McCarthy.

Reince Priebus

Spicer came to the press secretary’s position from the Republican National Committee, where he served as Director of Communications from 2011 to 2017 for RNC chairman Reince Priebus. Priebus brought Spicer along with him to the White House when he accepted the position as Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff. 

From the beginning of his tenure, Spicer seemed ill-suited for the role of a front man for a mercurial president with a tendency to shoot from the hip without consulting even his closest adviser.  Thin-skinned and apparently lacking the sense of humor that press secretaries need to work comfortably with the media, Spicer often seemed out of the loop.

Reporters believed that Spicer had been on shaky ground with Trump, who didn’t think that Spicer was aggressive enough in promoting Trump’s points of view. Spicer often found himself being forced to explain Trump’s difficulty in cleaving to the truth rather than his trademark hyperbole, and was caught unaware on several occasions because he was not kept in the loop by Trump and his inner circle.

A particularly painful moment came when Spicer, a devout Catholic, was not given advanced notice he would be excluded from the president’s entourage during the president’s recent papal visit.  After that episode, observers noticed a perceptive cooling in Spicer’s attitude toward the administration he was tasked to represent.

Anthony Scaramucci

The last straw for Spicer was when he was passed over for the position of White House Communications Director, the position that has now been awarded to Mr. Scaramucci. Spicer had been holding down that job while continuing to serve as press secretary and was hoping to get that job. Before that last straw was added, however, Spicer had been missing from the briefing podium for several weeks, with the briefing duties being relegated to the deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, during a period when the White House refused to allow cameras or recording devices into the conferences.

It was thought by some reporters that the decision to bar cameras and recorders from the briefings was to make it less evident that Spicer was not delivering the briefings, indicating the president’s lack of respect for his performance in that public role.

The incoming communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, 52, another Goldman Sachs alumnus, joins the Trump administration after a successful career as a  financier, culminating as founder and chairman of Skybridge Capital. The new Trump appointee divested himself from his company in 2017 in order to take a position in the Trump administration. He has a reported net worth of $1.5 billion. He has no previous experience in government, but has published three books and served as the moderator for Wall Street Week on the Fox Business Channel.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

In 2008, Scaramucci served as a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. During the 2016 campaign, Scaramucci first supported Scott Walker and, after Walker withdrew from the campaign, switched his allegiance to former Florida governor Jeb Bush before Bush, in turn, withdrew.

Known as a super-salesman and a slick operator, Scaramucci answers to the nickname of “The Mooch” on Wall Street. During his inaugural performance at the White House Briefing Room podium Friday. Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, 34,  was being elevated to the role of Presidential press secretary.