Sean Spicer Resigns, Sarah Huckabee-Sanders Takes the Reins
WASHINGTON -- White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday morning after President Donald Trump named a new White House communications director.
Newly-minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci, taking to the White House briefing room for the first time early Friday afternoon, announced that principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will take over as press secretary.
Spicer's resignation came after Scaramucci, a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser, accepted the new job, a move Spicer adamantly opposed, FOX News and multiple other sources said.
"I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities -- just look at his great television ratings," Trump said in a statement Sanders delivered from the White House podium.
Trump also called Scaramucci "an important addition to this administration" in the statement read by Sanders.
The resignation marked the end of one of the most tumultuous tenures for a White House press secretary.
"It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August," Spicer tweeted.
He told CNN on Friday that he resigned out of a desire "to give the President and the new team a clean slate."
Spicer handled the responsibilities of both press secretary and communications director for much of his tenure, overseeing the White House's response to a near non-stop deluge of controversy, particularly concerning the widening federal investigation into potential ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus introduced Scaramucci as the new communications director to a round of applause, according to a source in the room.
Trump wanted Scaramucci in the White House
Scaramucci's hiring began to come together Thursday night, but as news of the hire began to leak, Spicer, Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon found themselves largely in the dark -- unaware of the President's already firm intention to tap Scaramucci for the top communications post, largely at the urging of his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Priebus, whose fraught relationship with Scaramucci is well-known, said Friday that he supports the new communications director "100%."
"We go back a long way and are very good friends," Priebus said. "All good here."
Scaramucci pushed back on reports of any discord inside the West Wing, especially on reports that his relationship with Priebus has been frought.
"Reince and I have been personal friends for six years," Scaramucci said. "We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while. But he's a dear friend."
Scaramucci said he "would have loved" for Spicer to stay on in the administration, but said he respected Spicer's decision to "clear the slate" for him. He also called Bannon "one of the smartest people I know."
"I don't have any friction with Sean, I don't have any friction with Reince," Scaramucci said.
Still, Scaramucci said he would report "directly" to the President, and that he and Priebus would work together. Sanders declined to say whether she would report directly to Priebus or Scaramucci, instead promising she and Scaramucci would work together as a "team" and noting that they both serve "at the pleasure of the president."
(Photo by Jared Siskin/Getty Images)