White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday morning, according to multiple media reports citing unnamed white House officals.
According to the New York Times, which first broke the news, Spicer told President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier and former Fox Business host Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
Spicer, who has been filling the majority of the communications director responsibilities since Mike Dubke resigned in May, was asked to stay on by the president after making the offer to Scaramucci around 10 a.m. Friday, The Times reported.
“Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment was a major mistake,” the Times wrote, citing a “person with direct knowledge of the exchange.”
Spicer made press briefings must-see TV early in the first months of the Trump administration but he hadn’t conducted an on-camera briefing since June 20.
From the first day of the Trump presidency, when Spicer berated reporters for their coverage of inauguration turnout, his combative press briefings were entrancing. 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.
“Has anyone checked on Sean Spicer?” Trump critic Rep. Maxine Waters tweeted recently, with faux concern about Spicer’s recent lack of visibility.
Since then, Spicer has been the subject of endless speculation.
The congressional newspaper The Hill reported in May that Spicer was the “latest target for Trump firing rumors.” Last month, Politico reported that Spicer was reaching out to prospective candidates to take over his position as part a plan to shake up the White House communications operation.
Critics have challenged Spicer’s credibility (he once tried to convince reporters that Trump’s “covfefe” tweet wasn’t a typo) and even his attire (he once wore an American flag pin upside-down, a symbol of distress). He once mistakenly said that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons on his own people.
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta has accused Spicer of “stonewalling” and called him “useless.” His now-former colleague, Steve Bannon, paid him the disrespect of saying he hadn’t been on camera lately because “Sean got fatter.”
But others went out of their way to say they like Spicer personally — even a journalist who last month spoke out at a press conference to accuse the Trump Administration of bullying reporters. And journalists offered their sympathy — at least some of it authentic — when Trump excluded him from a group of staffers who met with Pope Francis.