WASHINGTON (CBS/CNN) — Sean Spicer has resigned as White House press secretary.
CBS News confirmed Spicer resigned from his position on Friday.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been named the new press secretary.
This comes as President Donald Trump offered the job of White House communications director to Anthony Scaramucci on Friday morning, according to a senior administration official, a White House official and a source with knowledge. Scaramucci accepted.
A White House official and top GOP adviser said President Donald Trump asked Spicer to stay on, but he resigned.
The resignation caps off one of the most tumultuous tenures for a White House press secretary, one that saw Spicer repeatedly undermined in his role as the White House’s public-facing spokesman by the President’s own public statements and tweets.
Spicer handled the responsibilities of both press secretary and communications director during much of his tenure, overseeing the White House’s response to a near non-stop deluge of controversy, particularly concerning the widening federal investigation into potential ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.
Spicer resigns after just six months in the position. He tweeted that he will continue his service through August.
“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August,” said Spicer.
According to The New York Times, Spicer “vehemently disagreed” with Scaramucci’s appointment.
CNN’s Dana Bash said Spicer didn’t sound upset when she spoke to him on the phone and that he said he wanted to give the new team a “clean slate.”
“He wanted to give the president and the new team a clean slate,” said Bash. “He told me that the president made clear that he wanted Sean Spicer to stay and Sean told him that he said he didn’t want to stand in the way from letting this happen, from letting changes happen, and that he felt at the moment that the time was right for the White House and the White House staff and also for Sean Spicer, personally, that it was time to go.”
The communications director position has been vacant since longtime Republican strategist Mike Dubke resigned from the communications director post in late May after about three months on the job, leaving White House press secretary Sean Spicer to take on many of those duties.
The communications director position is a first for Scaramucci, who has never held a formal political communications role.
Scaramucci will step into the role — typically one of the most sought-after in political communications — at a time when the White House remains engulfed in the ongoing drip of stories about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians and the special counsel investigation probing the matter.
Scaramucci spoke about his relationship with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus during Friday afternoon’s press briefing.
“Reince and I have been personal friends for six years. We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while, which is totally normal for brothers … but he’s a dear friend, he brought me into the political system.”
He continued, “The president himself is always going to be the president. I was in the Oval Office earlier with him today and we were talking about him letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity. I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history.”
Scaramucci said that it’s OK to have “friction” within the White House.
“I want to make sure that our cultural template is we put the president’s agenda first, which is perfect for the American people and will serve his interests. And, so, if we have a little bit of friction inside the White House as a result of that, it’s OK, we can all live with that. I’m a businessperson, I’m used to dealing with friction,” he said.
During the press briefing, Scaramucci was asked about previously calling Trump a “hack politician.”
“He brings that up every 15 seconds. One of the biggest mistakes that I made because I was an unexperienced person in the world of politics. I was supporting another candidate, I should have never said that about him. So, Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that,” said Scaramucci. “But here’s the wonderful thing about the news media, he’s never forgotten it, you’ve never forgotten it, but I hope someday Mr. President you’ll forget it.”
He added they might go back to regular televised press briefings.
“If you said to me that there’s some media bias out there, if you want me to be as candid as you’d like me to be with you guys, there feels like there’s a little bit of media bias. So what we hope we can do is deescalate that and turn that around and let’s let the message from the president get out there to the american people
Scaramucci will step into the role a month after he began a role as vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank.
But the New York hedge fund manager has been a prominent TV surrogate for the President — during the campaign and since he was sworn in — and previously hosted a financial news show.
And while Dubke’s lack of a relationship with Trump hampered his efforts, Scaramucci will enter the West Wing armed with a year-old relationship with the President.
Scaramucci’s political experience has been more focused on the fundraising realm, having served as national finance co-chair of 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He later fundraised for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in the 2016 GOP primaries before joining the Trump campaign’s national finance committee.
He also served on the executive committee of Trump’s transition team after the election.
Scaramucci was initially tapped to lead the Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, but never stepped into the role amid concerns over the pending sale of his hedge fund, The New York Times reported.
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