White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday after President Donald Trump hired financier Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director, capping days of tumult as Trump shifted his legal and public relations strategy.
“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve” Trump, Spicer said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I will continue my service through August.”
Scaramucci, 53, was a campaign fundraiser for Trump and regular adviser during the presidential transition. He’s been mentioned for multiple jobs in the administration, most recently as ambassador to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He’s also been considered as head of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
One person familiar with the changes said that Trump offered Scaramucci the communications job out of a sense of loyalty to his surrogate, whom he calls “the Italian kid.” Spicer resigned out of frustration, the person said: Scaramucci is not expected to perform the traditional duties of a communications director, such as planning messaging campaigns for the president’s policies, and that work would have fallen to the already overwhelmed press secretary.
The White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said he backed Scaramucci’s hiring.
“I support Anthony 100 percent,” he said in a text message. “We go back a long way and are very good friends.”
Priebus and Spicer are close, having worked together for years at the Republican National Committee before joining the White House. But Priebus has no plans to leave his job, a person familiar with his thinking said.
Spicer exits the White House on the heels of another Trump communications strategist, Mark Corallo, who had been a spokesman for Trump’s legal team representing him in the Russia probe until he resigned yesterday. Trump also changed the leadership of his legal team, this week, appointing John Dowd to replace Marc Kasowitz as his lead attorney.
A person familiar with Corallo’s departure said he, too, left out of frustration with Trump’s White House and defense strategy. Corallo declined to discuss his decision.