JULY 21, 2017. WASHINGTON — Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned Friday after telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as his new communications director.
After offering Mr. Scaramucci the job on Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Spicer to stay on as press secretary, reporting to Mr. Scaramucci. But Mr. Spicer rejected the offer, expressing his belief that Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring would add to the confusion and uncertainty already engulfing the White House, according to two people with direct knowledge of the exchange.
Mr. Spicer’s top deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will serve as press secretary instead.
The long-anticipated resignation rattled an administration already reeling from the most trying two-week stretch of Mr. Trump’s presidency. The president’s health care effort foundered in the Senate last week, and next week promises no respite, with his son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, due to testify before Congress on questions about their contacts with Russia.
If the moves amounted to a kind of organizational reset, it was not part of a pivot or grand redesign. The president, according to a dozen people familiar with the situation, meant to upgrade, not overhaul, his existing staff with the addition of a smooth-talking, Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager who is currently the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank, which he joined just last month. His rapport with the president establishes a new power center in a building already bristling with rivalry.
Despite the move, the immutable reality of the Trump White House remains the same: The President has no intention of changing his behavior — he merely believes his communications staff needs to defend him better — and Mr. Scaramucci even suggested his role would be to unshackle an already unfettered President.
“I think there’s been, at times, a disconnect between the way we see the President and how much we love the President, and the way some of you perhaps see the President,” Mr. Scaramucci said during a news conference that kicked off with his announcement of Ms. Sanders’s new job.
“I certainly see the American people probably see the President the way I do,” he added, contradicting a raft of recent polls showing Mr. Trump’s approval rating below 40 percent nationally.
“But we want to get that message out there.”
In a statement on Friday night, Mr. Trump said, “Anthony is a person I have great respect for,” and went on to describe the problem he hopes he will solve.
“We have accomplished so much, and we are being given credit for so little,” he said.
“The good news is the people get it, even if the media doesn’t,” President Trump said.
In a tweet late Friday, Mr. Trump also called Mr. Spicer “a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the Fake News Media – but his future is bright!”
Mr. Spicer’s departure ends an excruciating saga. even for a highly factionalized White House riven with intrigue. He had hoped to last a year as press secretary. He quit after six months and a day.
A former spokesman and strategist for the Republican National Committee, Mr. Spicer was a frequent target of the President’s ire during the first few months of the administration.
He attained a notoriety unusual for a presidential spokesman, his combative style spawning a caricature on “Saturday Night Live.”
Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman work for the New York Times.