On Friday morning, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned from his position after a reported disagreement over President Donald Trump's appointment of a new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. According to The New York Times, Trump offered the communications director position to Scaramucci at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, after which Spicer told the president appointing Scaramucci would be a major mistake.
Citing an unnamed source, the Times reported that Trump asked Spicer to remain in his position, but Spicer resigned nonetheless after rejecting a position subordinate to Scaramucci. An anonymous official briefly addressed Spicer's resignation in an interview with The Daily Beast, remarking: “Surprised it took this long.”
Indeed, Spicer's role as press secretary has been declining for some time. CBS News recently noted that Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been taking over most of the White House press briefings, while Spicer sought a more strategic communications position in the Trump administration.
Scaramucci is a Wall Street financier who has supported Trump for a long time. Politico reported that he would be replacing Mike Dubke, who resigned in May. Scaramucci is taking on the communications director position at a tumultuous time, with the Trump administration combating allegations about ties with Russia.
Spicer was not the only one to oppose Scaramucci's appointment. According to the Times report, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also objected to the appointment, arguing that Scaramucci did not have sufficient organizational or political experience. But Scaramucci has frequently defended Trump on television, and the president now wants him to play the same role in his administration. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, both supported Scaramucci's appointment.
Consequently, Spicer's resignation calls into question Priebus' own role in the Trump administration. It was Priebus who advocated for Spicer's appointment as White House press secretary, despite skepticism from the president.
As USA Today pointed out following Spicer's resignation, the tension in Spicer and Trump's relationship has been evident for at least a few months. After Trump fired James Comey from his position as FBI director, the president blamed Spicer and the rest of his press team for failing to keep public backlash in check. Soon afterward, Spicer was not invited to join the president's entourage during a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, despite being a devout Catholic. Spicer was also reportedly angry when Trump gave a detailed interview to The New York Times with only White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks present.
Spicer has had a rocky tenure as press secretary, a position he has filled for six months and one day. From making inappropriate comments about Hitler to seemingly hiding "among" the bushes on the White House grounds, Spicer has routinely come under fire from journalists and the public alike. After months of reports and speculation that Trump was considering a major shake-up of his administration, Scaramucci's appointment and Spicer's resignation appear to signify the White House's attempts to move past the allegations rocking the beginning of Trump's presidency.