24 July 2017

Sean Spicer finally had enough UF

Vanity Fair has an article by Abigail Tracy about Spicer's departure:


After six months of near-daily abasement at the hands of the Washington press corps, to say nothing of his vituperative boss, Sean Spicer (photo, top) resigned Friday as press secretary, hours after the White House announced the appointment of New York City financier and Trump cheerleader Anthony Scaramucci (photo, above) as communications director, effectively taking the job that Spicer had been filling since the resignation of Mike Dubke in May.
Spicer’s devolution from a well-liked figure among the Washington press to the Trump administration’s beleaguered Baghdad Bob arguably began the first day he took the podium and defended the president’s grandiose lies about the size of his inauguration crowd. He quickly became a tragicomic figure as Donald Trump repeatedly denigrated him to anyone who would listen— aides, reporters, and club members at Mar-a-Lago— making fun of his ill-fitting suits (though Spicer quickly upgraded his wardrobe) and reportedly criticizing his daily press briefings in real-time, yelling at his television set as if he were watching SportsCenter. A series of cringe-worthy gaffes— referring to concentration camps as “Holocaust centers” and characterizing Mike Flynn, the former national security adviser, as a “volunteer”, among other greatest hits— did little to improve his position at the bottom of the West Wing totem pole. Daily press briefings became infrequent, were moved off-camera, and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders became a more permanent fixture in the Brady Briefing Room, leaving Spicer on the sidelines. Rumors swirled for months that Spicer was on the chopping block. “That uncertainty is very harrowing-slash-demoralizing,” an associate of Spicer’s with ties to the White House told Hive in May.
While not unexpected, it seems the proximate cause for Spicer’s exit was not his mistreatment by Trump— though it is safe to assume that was a factor— but rather the arrival of Scaramucci, which apparently infuriated both Spicer, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus, who originally brought Spicer into the West Wing. Two administration officials familiar with the situation told The New York Times that Spicer flatly rejected assuming a position subordinate to Scaramucci, whose appointment Spicer insisted was a major mistake. But “the Mooch,” as he is known on Wall Street, had the backing of Trump advisers and family members Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, among others. “This was a murdering of Reince and Bannon. They said Anthony would get this job over their dead bodies,” one top White House official told Politico. Another White House official suggested that Scaramucci’s appointment could portend the end of PriebusWest Wing gig. “Just hiring Anthony is telling Reince to beat it, go find another job.”
Spicer and Priebus did their best to squash reports of inter-office turmoil in a staff meeting on Friday, taking turns praising Scaramucci in a bid to show a unified face. “A lot of you are hearing the news, and I want you to hear it directly from us,” Spicer said, according to a source in the room who recounted the episode to Axios. The outgoing press secretary had only good things to say about Scaramucci— ”I’m going to be very involved in the transition to make sure that Anthony can be very successful”— as did Priebus, despite reports that he’d repeatedly tried to torpedo the Mooch’s appointment. “The president had decided to bring Anthony in, and it's going to be a great thing, he's a self-made man. He knows what it takes to run an organization and has built several businesses. It was a great choice,” the chief of staff said, according to the source. Scaramucci, who also addressed the communications team, reportedly regaled the assembled staff with stories of his long, friendly relationship with Priebus, whom he said he’d once tried to hire as COO of his investment firm, Skybridge.All three men are expected to appear for an interview with Sean Hannity on Friday night as the White House attempts to spin the shake-up as a kumbaya moment. Spicer fans, meanwhile, will undoubtedly be eagerly awaiting the erstwhile press secretary’s next act and, one hopes, the inevitable tell-all.
Rico says that Melissa McCarthy will now need to be replaced on Saturday Night Live... (Rico will miss her.)

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