White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducted the first on-camera briefing since June 29 on Friday, on the heels of Sean Spicer stepping down as press secretary. She praised Spicer’s ability to draw viewers.
Spicer resigned on Friday after hedge fund guru Anthony Scaramucci was named the new White House communications director. Huckabee Sanders read a prepared statement by President Trump regarding Spicer’s decision.
“I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the America people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to new opportunities, just look at his great television ratings. Sean will continue to serve the administration through August and the president has also appointed Anthony Scaramucci as communication director,” Huckabee Sanders said.
Spicer took to twitter shortly before the briefing with his thoughts on the situation.
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) July 21, 2017
From the first day of the Trump presidency when Spicer berated reporters for their coverage of inauguration turnout, his combative press briefings were must-see TV. Melissa McCarthy famously satirized him in “Saturday Night Live” sketches in which he rode a podium like a tank through a battlefield and the now-former press secretary emerged as a household name.
Despite Trump being a fan of the highly rated briefings, Spicer hadn’t conducted an on-camera briefing since June 20 and the administration has preferred off-camera versions over the last few weeks. It appears that it took Spicer stepping down to get Huckabee Sanders in front of a camera.
Meanwhile, Scaramucci named Huckabee Sanders the permanent press secretary to replace Spicer. He wouldn’t commit to having televised briefings on a regular basis because he wants to discuss it with Huckabee Sanders first.
Huckabee Sanders will take over immediately, but it remains to be seen if she will draw eyeballs like Spicer did.