White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resigned Friday after opposing President Donald Trump’s appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
The president asked Spicer to stay in his role, but Spicer said appointing Scaramucci was a major mistake, The New York Times, citing a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.
NBC News confirmed the resignation with two people familiar with the matter.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was said to have advocated naming Spicer as press secretary. The two worked at the Republican National Committee before joining the administration.
Following Spicer’s resignation, Priebus said he supports Scaramucci “100 percent,” according to news reports.
The White House is expected to hold a press briefing Friday at 2 p.m. EDT.
Spicer’s departure came six months into the Trump administration. His daily press briefings, often featuring tense exchanges with reporters, were frequently carried live on multiple networks. He was often ridiculed on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
The tone of his tenure was set on his first full day as press secretary. At a Jan. 21 news conference, he verbally attacked the media and refused to take questions. He claimed they had spread “deliberately false reporting,” including understating the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration the previous day. He insisted that the crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period, both in person and around the globe.”
Spicer had taken over responsibilities as White House communications director after Mike Dubke resigned from the position in May. Reports swirled for months that Spicer would resign or be ousted.
Scaramucci is a former hedge fund star who has hosted the annual SkyBridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference. He is currently the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s senior vice president.
Earlier Friday, a source close to the White House told NBC that Scaramucci met with Trump. In the meeting, Scaramucci was offered the role of communications director and accepted it, according to multiple reports.
When NBC asked one of its sources whether Trump would change his mind, the person said the president’s mind was made up.
Priebus and top adviser Steve Bannon had resisted the appointment,NBC reported before Spicer’s resignation became known. It said the two were kept out of the loop on the decision.
Sources within and outside the White House said Bannon had told Scaramucci he would get the job “over my dead body,” according to NBC.
Spicer tweeted later that he will continue to serve through August.