White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held his first on-camera briefing since June 12 on Tuesday amid a report that he is searching for his own replacement, telling reporters that the administration is “always looking for ways to do a better job.”
The first few questions were related to policy, not Spicer’s future, but he was eventually asked about a recent Politico report that President Trump is looking to make changes to the White House communications operation.
“It’s no secret we’ve had a couple of vacancies, including our communications director… We’ve been seeking input from individuals as far as ideas that they have and we’ve been meeting with potential people that may be of service to this administration,” Spicer said. “I don’t think that should come as any surprise, but we’re always looking for ways to do a better job of articulating the president’s message and his agenda.”
Spicer currently has multiple positions within the White House communications team and its unclear if the role of press secretary is the one he will keep once the staff re-expands.
Spicer said internal discussions will continue and they will make an announcement when the time is right.
The briefing wasn’t originally scheduled but was added to the White House agenda on Tuesday morning. Earlier this week, CNN’s Jim Acosta blasted Spicer for refusing to allow his off-camera press gaggle to be recorded.
“The White House press secretary is getting to a point… where he is just kind of useless,” Acosta said on air Monday. “If he can’t come out and answer the questions and they’re not going to do this on camera or audio, why are we even having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place?”
Spicer also addressed the recent lack of on-camera briefings during Tuesday’s briefing.
“We’re going to do what we can to communicate our message. We have a tremendous respect for the First Amendment… and I’m going to work with you. I think the briefing is one aspect of what we do. We’re here really early in the morning and really late at night, available for all of your questions whether it’s email or in person,” Spicer said. “This is one avenue to do that.”
The press secretary said Trump has given more access than past administrations when factoring in other elements of communications aside from daily briefings, saying his staff is “very accommodating” and “responsive.”
Politico reports that Spicer is reaching out to prospective candidates to take over his position as part a plan to shake up the White House communications operation.
Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus have reportedly reached out to Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham about possibly taking over Spicer’s responsibilities. Daily Mail U.S. political editor David Martosko has been in talks to take over the role of communications director, according to Politico.