White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer will not conduct Wednesday’s press briefing, which is arguably the most important of Trump’s still-young presidency on the heels of the sudden Tuesday firing of James Comey as director of the FBI.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will fill in for Spicer, who will be at the Pentagon through Friday to fulfill his obligations as a member of the U.S. Navy reserve, according to CNN’s Sara Murray.
White House Communications Director Mike Dubke told CNN it was “all previously scheduled.”
Sanders’ first on-camera press briefing is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. ET. She is the daughter of former Arkansas governor and two-time GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Her debut at the White House press briefing will come just hours after she made an awkward appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in which co-host Mika Brzezinski accused her of lying about investigations into possible collusion between Russians and members of the Trump campaign last year.
“You’re actually not telling the truth right now,” Brzezinski told her, while co-host Joe Scarborough accused Huckabee Sanders of “twisting my words.”
Spicer joined the Navy reserve in 1999 and is now a commander, according to Mediaite. He has emerged as a household name because of his often-combative press briefings and high-profile gaffes. He is famously portrayed on “Saturday Night Live by Melissa McCarthy, who will host “SNL” this weekend.
Critics will be quick to accuse Spicer of dodging what is expected to be a tense briefing after Trump fired Comey on Tuesday night in a move that is being criticized by people on both sides of the political aisle.