Crisis hits Trump administration as press secretary Sean Spicer resigns
Sean Spicer has resigned as White House press secretary, bringing to an end a tumultuous six months as the public face of United States President Donald Trump’s administration.
Spicer stepped down after the president reportedly tapped Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and longtime Trump supporter, as the new White House communications director.
The White House had been without a communications director since May, when Mike Dubke resigned from the role in the first personnel shakeup of the Trump administration. Spicer had taken on the responsibilities associated with the job in the interim and strongly opposed Trump’s decision to hire Scaramucci, according to reports.
Spicer’s future behind the podium of the James S Brady Press Briefing Room had long been tenuous, as his tenure was marked by almost continuous controversy.
From his very first appearance before the cameras, when he angrily chastised the media over the crowd size at Trump’s presidential inauguration, Spicer swiftly emerged as ridiculed figure for his aggressive attitude towards journalists, false statements and gaffes.
He was memorably mocked by the actor Melissa McCarthy on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, an act that deeply irked Trump, who saw Spicer’s portrayal by a woman as a sign of weakness. Reports would frequently surface of the White House searching for possible replacements for Spicer, with some candidates acknowledging to the media that they had been interviewed for the job, an unusually public slight for an administration official of such high rank.
Perhaps the most damaging blow to Spicer came during Trump’s first foreign trip as president, when the press secretary, a devout Catholic, was shut out of a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
One of Spicer’s most egregious gaffes came in April, when, in an attempt to highlight the barbarity of Syria’s embattled president Bashar al-Assad, Spicer stated that “not even Hitler” employed the use of chemical weapons, despite the fact that Nazis killed millions with poison gas during the Holocaust.
Spicer apologized repeatedly, saying he had “made a mistake” and “screwed up”.
It was one of a series of gaffes in his short career as Trump’s press secretary.
The Trump-Spicer marriage may have been destined for an early divorce from the start. Spicer, who previously worked as the communications director of the Republican National Committee, was not an early supporter of Trump during the GOP primary.
It was also rumored in Washington that Trump, who deeply values loyalty, had soured on Spicer early on in his tenure as press secretary – perhaps as early as his first press statement, when Spicer angrily berated reporters and gave false information about the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd.
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