Sean Spicer resigns; White House hires new comms director - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Sean Spicer resigns; White House hires new comms director

White House spokesman Sean Spicer walks from the West Wing of the White House to speak to reporters May 9. (Source: AP/Carol Kaster) White House spokesman Sean Spicer walks from the West Wing of the White House to speak to reporters May 9. (Source: AP/Carol Kaster)

(RNN) – White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday morning just as the White House hired Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and this amazing country. I will continue my service through August," Spicer said on Twitter.

He said his decision was to give the the president a "clean slate" to start with.

Spicer had sent out a tweet from his official White House account less than two hours before his resignation as well, promoting the president's weekly address.

His resignation came as the White House had been criticized by the media for not hosting on-camera briefings for the Washington press corps. The White House broke the streak of off-camera briefings on Friday with an on-camera question-and-answer session with Scaramucci and Huckabee Sanders.

It was announced that Huckabee Sanders was promoted to White House press secretary during the press briefing.

Before Friday afternoon, the last on-camera briefing had been June 29. Then-Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducted that briefing, not Spicer.

The White House's newest hire, 53-year-old Scaramucci, was a member of the Trump transition team and met with the president and Ivanka Trump in the Oval Office, according to multiple news outlets. 

The former head of SkyBridge Capital, an investment firm, sold off his stake in the business earlier this year. In June, he was named the senior vice president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Anthony Scaramucci
(AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said he supported Scaramucci's hiring "100 percent." He called the incoming communications director a close friend and described the White House as "all good here."

Scaramucci, also was the subject of a retracted CNN story that caused the resignation of three people who worked on the report. The piece cited a single, anonymous source who said Scaramucci met with a top executive from a billion-dollar Russian investment fund. 

CNN apologized to Scaramucci, saying the story did not meet the organization's editorial standards. 

Spicer's time behind the podium

Spicer had a stormy tenure as the spokesman for the Trump administration. He was tasked with defending the president's tweet storms and wild on-the-record statements since he became press secretary and communications director on the day of the inauguration.

He had to defend positions that were lacking in credible evidence. The tone was set his first day on the job.

On the day after Trump's inauguration, in his first briefing as White House spokesman, the former Republican National Committee's communications director angrily dressed down the media, claiming they under-reported the size of the Trump inauguration crowd.

"This was the largest crowd to witness an inauguration, period," Spicer said, without any supporting evidence.

The briefing came on Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration, after aerial photos were released by the U.S. Park Service that clearly showed a larger crowd at President Barack Obama's 2008 inauguration. Nielson ratings showed Obama's first inauguration drew a larger TV audience.

He left the podium without taking questions. 

Spicer also had to defend the president’s claim that millions of people voted illegally in the fall 2016 election, which gave Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton an almost 3-million popular vote advantage. Trump also claimed his Electoral College victory was the largest since Reagan's in 1984, which was false. He also accused former President Barack Obama of "wire-tapping" him, a claim that remains unproved. 

The sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, May 9, took Spicer and his staff by surprise, and the media went hours after the news broke without official word from the White House. Two days after the firing, Trump contradicted the position taken by the administration and delivered via surrogates on multiple media outlets.

Blistering criticism came from all corners that the president had fired the nation's top law enforcement official who was spearheading the investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.

In a May interview, Trump told NBC Anchor Lester Holt that he had already made up his mind to fire Comey before receiving a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The White House had said the president made the judgment after reviewing the letters from the two top Department of Justice Officials.

Spicer was replaced in the briefing room by Huckabee Sanders the two days after Comey's firing.

Spicer survived an April mistake when he stated that Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons during World War II defending Trump's decision to attack Syria in response to a chemical attack on civilians by President Bashar al-Assad. He apologized profusely, which probably saved his job.

After Trump secured the GOP nomination, Spicer became an advocate for the real estate mogul on talk shows and national news. He became known for a combative relationship with the media during the stretch run of the presidential campaign.

He was lampooned on comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live, portrayed by Melissa McCarthy. 

Spicer is a U.S. Naval Reserve Commander.

Previously, he served as assistant U.S. trade representative for media and public affairs in the George W. Bush administration. During the 2000 election cycle, Spicer oversaw the re-election strategies for more than 220 members of Congress.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. 

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