Sean Spicer resigned as President Donald Trump‘s press secretary on Friday, the same day the White House made its pick for the administration’s new communications director, according to The New York Times and other outlets.
The long-embattled press secretary told Trump he strongly disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci to fill the job of communications director, according to the Times. Spicer had been doing double duty as press secretary and acting as White House communications director since Michael Dubke resigned in May.
The Washington Post reports that both Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus have had a tense relationship with Scaramucci in the past.
Spicer, 45, confirmed news of his resignation on Twitter Friday afternoon, calling it an “honor and a privilege” to serve the president, and announcing that he will stay on through next month.
He also reportedly told CNN’s Dana Bash that he wanted to “give the president and the new team a clean slate.”
Scaramucci addressed the press Friday afternoon during a televised White House press conference and confirmed that Sarah Huckabee Sanders will replace Spicer as the administration’s new press secretary.
Spicer, who was the communications director of the Republican National Committee prior to press secretary duties, is undeniably a Washington insider — the kind of person Trump said he didn’t want in his administration throughout his campaign of “drain the swamp” rhetoric.
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The former Trump spokesman said he learned about the sketch after receiving so many text messages he thought that “there was a national emergency or something really funny happening,” according to the Los Angeles Times in February.
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“I think Melissa McCarthy needs to slow down on the gum chewing,” Spicer also said of the impersonation. “Way too many pieces in there.”
Since assuming the role in January, he’s also come under fire for lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration — he drew harsh criticism for his own claim that “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period” — and scolding veteran White House correspondent April Ryan for shaking her head after she asked a question related to Trump’s connections to Russia in March.
In April, while condemning the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilians earlier that month, Spicer compared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler, with the Trump spokesman seeming to credit the Nazi leader as someone who “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.”
Asked later to clarify his comments on Hitler, Spicer backpedaled and told ABC News’ Cecila Vega, “I think when you come to sarin gas, there was no — he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”
“He brought them into the Holocaust Center,” added Spicer, in an apparent reference to Nazi concentration camps. The term was later much-mocked on social media.
“I made a mistake by trying to make a comparison that was completely wrong,” he said. “I don’t even know how to explain it.”