White House spokesman Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, ending a brief and turbulent tenure that made him a household name, amid further upheaval within President Donald Trump's inner circle. Although he resigned Spicer said in a tweet that he will continue his service through August.
While not a surprise, Spicer's departure was abrupt and reflected turmoil in Trump's legal and media teams amid a widening investigation of possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Sarah Sanders was named as the new press secretary by her new boss, Anthony Scaramucci, at a White House briefing with reporters. Scaramucci, a former Wall Street financier, was named as the administration's new top communications official.
A Republican close to the White House told Reuters that Trump settled on Scaramucci for the job on Thursday and met with him on Friday morning to formally offer it to him.
After news of Scaramucci's hiring leaked, the official said, Spicer met with Trump in the Oval Office and basically "gave an ultimatum" that it was "him or me." When Trump would not budge, Spicer resigned, the official said.
The 45-year-old Spicer, a veteran Washington staffer, was parodied memorably by actress Melissa McCarthy on the "Saturday Night Live" TV comedy show for his combative encounters with the White House press corps.
Trump said he was grateful for Spicer's work in a statement, delivered at the briefing by Sanders.
Scaramucci told reporters, "I love the president. ... It's an honour to be here." Asked how he was going to right the White House ship, Scaramucci said there was nothing to fix.
"The ship is going in the right direction. I like the team. Let me rephrase that: I love the team," he said.
Scaramucci said he has worked to make sure he has no conflicts of interests stemming from his wide-ranging business activities. He was formerly a hedge fund manager and a Goldman Sachs banker. He said he has worked with the US Office of Government ethics "to take care of all this." He said he has worked with the US Office of Government ethics "to take care of all this."
TRT World's Jon Brain gives more details.
From the start, Spicer invited controversy, attacking the media in his debut appearance as press secretary for reporting what he called inaccurate crowd numbers at Trump's inauguration.
"This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe," he said, an assertion that quickly drew scorn.
In a Twitter post on Friday, Spicer wrote, "It's been an honor & privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August."
Before being tapped by Trump for the job of press secretary, Spicer was spokesman for the Republican National Committee. He also had previously worked in the administration of former President George W. Bush, a time when he dressed up in an Easter Bunny costume for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.