White House press secretary Sean Spicer has had a rough go of it since Inauguration Day. From talk about inauguration crowd sizes, to the infamous Hitler comment. And of course, Melissa McCarthy’s spoof of the press secretary on Saturday Night Live. Spicer has gained as much fame (or notoriety) as any press secretary in recent years.
Despite the “great ratings” Spicer seems to draw on weekdays afternoons, it appears that the White House has reportedly decided to relieve him of daily on-camera press briefing duties, beginning after Pres. Trump’s first trip abroad.
According to the report, the briefings have become one of the most dreaded parts of the president’s day, and he has told those close to him that he doesn’t want Spicer publicly defending and explaining his message anymore.
The story also says that Spicer’s deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders will likely assume on-camera press briefing duties, and that briefings will be less frequent in general going forward.
Politico is reporting the president is also considering a broader shakeup of his communications team in the wake of several scandals.
Spicer is not the only target of Trump’s frustrations with the White House press operation. The president has generally grumbled about his communications team’s response to a recent flurry of self-inflicted scandals, which include not only Comey’s ouster, but also Trump’s alleged leak of classified information to Russian officials and reports that Trump pressured Comey to shut down a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Last week, Spicer was notably absent for two of the most important briefings of Trump’s presidency, while he served his Naval Reserve duty. Sanders answered questions for two days about Trump’s decision to fire fmr. FBI director James Comey.
If the move does take place, Spicer would reportedly take on a senior role in the administration, and not be fired.
Pres. Trump will also hold a joint press conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the East Room today at around 3:45 p.m. ET. Trump is expected to take questions from the press.