White House press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned, just six months after holding the job, according to White House sources.
Spicer made his decision after President Donald Trump appointed long-time loyalist Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
“I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the American people,” Trump said in a statement. “I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings.”
Trump made his decision to hire Scaramucci last night, confirming his decision on Friday morning despite protests from some in the administration.
“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve [President Donald Trump] and this amazing country,” Spicer wrote on Twitter after the news broke. “I will continue my service through August.”
Spicer, a career political spokesperson, was reportedly opposed to the idea and resigned in protest to Trump’s decision.
Speaking on the phone with CNN’s Dana Bash, Spicer said that he wanted to give Scaramucci a “clean slate” to do his job, although Trump asked him to stay in his job.
After White House communications director Mike Dubke resigned in May, Spicer tried to position himself as the replacement. That effort failed, as Trump decided to select a Trump loyalist as a successor.
White House reporters were asked to clear the hallways of the press area while Spicer met with press staff in his office following the decision. Laughing and clapping was heard coming out of the room.
Trump’s decision marks a big shakeup in the communications office that has struggled to effectively combat the media. Spicer’s six-month career was beset by controversy, as he struggled to battle the mainstream media onslaught of hostility against the young Trump administration.
Saturday Night Live mocked Spicer’s efforts by featuring actress Melissa McCarthy as a parody of the press secretary who frequently lost his cool while answering questions from journalists.
Trump was loyal to Spicer despite misgivings about his performance, but closely scrutinized his work. Spicer’s daily briefings became popular entertainment for television and online audiences, prompting the White House to move them off-camera, despite protests from the media.
Spicer is scheduled to appear on the Fox News Channel tonight with Sean Hannity to discuss his decision to resign.
Kristina Wong contributed to this report.