The New York Times reports that Spicer announced his resignation after strongly objecting to the hiring of Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director, a post that had been vacant since May. Spicer said he would stay on for another month before his exit:
Spicer wasn’t alone in his pushback against hiring “The Mooch,” as Scaramucci is often referred to. Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon reportedly also argued against the move, and were overruled by President Trump.
Spicer’s role in conducting the daily press briefing had already receded in recent weeks, with the briefings increasingly conducted off camera and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders often filling in.
With his penchant for awkward rhetorical missteps, a less-than-clean delivery, and a humiliating portrayal by Melissa McCarthy on Saturday Night Live, Spicer had long been reported to be on Trump’s bad side. But he managed to hang on for the entirety of the presidency so far, and his departure reportedly took the president by surprise.
Scaramucci, a flamboyant money manager, was initially critical of Trump’s candidacy, but changed his tune early enough to get in on the ground floor of the campaign. He was named to the post vacated by Mike Dubke, who resigned amid the mushrooming Russia scandal.
Bannon reportedly told Scaramucci that he would be hired “over my dead body,” and though Priebus was also reported to be “furious” over the hiring, he later praised Scaramucci, and will appear with him and Sean Spicer on Sean Hannity’s show Friday night. But Politico reports that The Mooch enjoys the backing of the “New York wing” of the White House: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell.
Spicer set the tone for his unsettled tenure with a bizarre press conference in which he admonished reporters for misrepresenting the crowd size at President Trump’s inauguration. His willingness to peddle the administration’s constant lies made many of his subsequent appearances into media spectacles, and he became a national celebrity and the butt of much criticism and ridicule.
As for his next move, immediate speculation that CNN would offer him a job was shot down by the network — for now.