Spicer resigns: Press secretary's tenure shortest since Clinton administration

Jul 21, 2017 20

Sean Spicer’s resignation as press secretary makes his tenure among the shortest in modern history – in a job notorious for burning out the officials who hold it.

As of Friday, when his resignation was confirmed, Spicer has served 182 days in the post. It could end up being a few weeks more, as he tweeted he’ll serve through August.

The next-shortest tenure would have been Jake Siewert, who served at the very end of the Bill Clinton administration, for 111 days.

Only four other press secretaries served for a shorter period of time.

Most stayed on for a year or more. The average tenure for the 30 press secretaries who preceded Spicer was 1,062 days, or almost three years. 

Spicer on resignation from White House: It's been an honor and privilege

Jul 21, 2017 12

White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned from his position Friday afernoon but said he will stay on until August. 

“It’s been an honor & a privilege to serve [President Donald Trump] & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August,” Spicer said on Twitter.

Spicer reportedly resigned from his position due to Trump’s hiring of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as communications director. Spicer was to lead a newly restored communications operation – under which Scaramucci would have had to report to him.

Spicer’s press briefings had become something of a must-see event, often providing much fodder for “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketches.

He is expected to appear on Fox News’ “Hannity” along with Scaramucci and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tonight at 10 p.m.
 

Spicer resigns as White House press secretary: A look at his time on the job

Jul 21, 2017 13

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned from his position Friday afternoon over President Donald Trump’s hiring of a new communications official, according to sources.

Spicer barely lasted six months in the White House, and his tenure was tumultuous, providing much fodder for ‘Saturday Night Live’ comedy sketches.

Here’s a brief look at some of Spicer’s more memorable moments in the White House.

Crowd Control

While talking to reporters about Trump’s inauguration, Spicer erroneously proclaimed that the event drew the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” and incorrectly cited statistics from the Metro transit system.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said in January.

SPICER RESIGNS FROM WHITE HOUSE

At the time, data was not yet available to back up Spicer’s claim, and former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration drew more people to the actual event.

To ban or not to ban?

While discussing Trump’s embattled plan to halt immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, Spicer and Trump seemed to be at odds over what to label the plan.

Spicer insisted that the order was not a “travel ban,” during a White House press briefing.

But Trump had repeatedly called the order a “ban” on Twitter.

When asked why Trump has called it a ban in the past, Spicer blamed it on the press.

“He’s using the words that the media is using,” Spicer said.

Trump’s bathrobe

While attempting to discredit a New York Times report about Trump’s staff regrouping after a rocky start, Spicer turned the conversation to the president’s bedroom attire.

“When Mr. Trump is not watching television in his bathrobe or on his phone reaching out to old campaign hands and advisers, he will sometimes set off to explore the unfamiliar surroundings of his new home,” the Feb. 5 Times report states.

POLITICIANS REACT TO SEAN SPICER’S RESIGNATION

Spicer said Trump was owed an apology because “that story was so riddled with inaccuracies and lies” – including the bathrobe part.

“I don’t think the president owns a bathrobe,” Spicer said. “He definitely doesn’t wear one.”

Distress signal

On March 10, nearly five months before he’d resign, Spicer stepped up to his lectern with his American flag pin upside down. With his pin upside down, Spicer was signaling, according to flag protocol, that he was in distress.

Holocaust history

Spicer was forced to apologize after he implied Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a worse person than Adolf Hitler – and seemed to forget a portion of history.

“We didn’t use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” Spicer said during an April press briefing.

WHO IS ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI?

Spicer was asked to clarify, to which he said, “I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing.”

When a reporter mentioned the gas chambers used to kill Jews – including those from Germany – Spicer said he meant Assad used chemical weapons in a different way.

He later apologized and told Fox News he made an “inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison.”

Into the bushes

The day that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Spicer seemingly went out of his way to avoid talking to reporters.

After finishing a television interview on the White House grounds, Spicer would have had to walk past reporters to get back to his office. So instead, he “disappeared into the shadows” and hid “among the bushes,” the Washington Post reported.  

The Washington Post originally reported that Spicer was “in the bushes,” but after pushback, amended the article to “more precisely describe [his] location.”

Nevertheless, the idea that Spicer was hiding in or among or near bushes ignited a frenzy of viral memes. 

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Spicer resigns as press secretary in White House shakeup

Jul 21, 2017 12

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday in a move apparently tied to the hiring of a new top communications aide, marking a major shakeup in the president’s press shop at an already tumultuous time. 

Spicer’s departure was confirmed just moments after President Trump met with the man being tapped for White House communications director, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci. 

Speculation about Spicer’s status with the White House has run rampant for months, but the appointment of Scaramucci was seen as a deciding factor in his resignation. 

Spicer originally was supposed to lead a newly restructured communications operation. Under that structure, the communications director would report to him — which may have caused a conflict with Scaramucci. And Spicer reportedly questioned the hiring. 

POLITICIANS REACT TO SPICER RESIGNATION

His departure comes as Trump has shown growing frustration with the ongoing Russia meddling probe and the massive attention it receives in the media. Spicer has defended Trump throughout the controversy, but had taken on a lower-profile role in recent weeks. 

Spicer’s daily briefings were a must-see event during the opening months of the Trump presidency. But Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has since taken the lead on many daily press briefings — which mostly are held off camera and no longer televised live. 

FLEISCHER CALLS RESIGNATION ‘UNSETTLING’

However, Sanders is slated to hold an on-camera briefing Friday at 2 p.m. ET

While Spicer is close to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, Priebus told The Associated Press that he supports Scaramucci “100 percent.”

“We go back a long, long way and are very good friends,” Priebus said of Scaramucci. “All good here.”

Spicer’s abrupt exit also came on a busy day for changes in Trump’s inner circle. 

News broke overnight on the resignation of Mark Corallo, who had been the lead spokesman on behalf of Trump’s long-time personal attorney Marc Kasowitz and the legal team. Corallo, who was previously a spokesman for the Justice Department, reportedly objected to public criticisms of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His resignation followed Trump telling The New York Times that he didn’t want Mueller investigating Trump family business ties outside the Russia scope.

Kasowitz, meanwhile, is stepping back to take a lower-profile role. 

A source said Kasowitz will continue to give his input and guidance to the president, as well as all members of the outside counsel.

Meanwhile, Scaramucci, who supported Trump during the general election, is expected to fill the White House role that has remained vacant since Mike Dubke’s resignation in May. His background is in the financial ranks of New York, having founded a global hedge fund. He later worked with Trump’s team during the campaign and transition and more recently was named senior vice president and chief strategy officer of the Export-Import Bank in June. 

Spicer’s departure marks the end of a rocky tenure in which the president’s top spokesman at times struggled to keep pace with Trump’s sometimes-chaotic leadership style — and a swirl of controversies. 

During the 2016 election cycle, Spicer was the chief strategist and communications director of the Republican National Committee. He later came to the White House along with Priebus, the former RNC chairman who is now Trump’s chief of staff. 

Spicer hasn’t had the rosiest relationship with the media since joining the White House. He’s clashed with reporters over “fake news” and said repeatedly the president was fed up with news reports that were “patently false.”

In February, he came under fire for barring reporters from several media outlets from participating in a scheduled press briefing. 

His prickly relationship with the press was widely mocked on “Saturday Night Live” with Melissa McCarthy playing Spicer. 

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Spicer resigns: Ex-press secretary Fleischer calls move 'unsettling'

Jul 21, 2017 12

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s resignation is an “unsettling” development for President Trump’s team, according to Ari Fleischer, who held the same job under then-President George W. Bush. 

Spicer is resigning as New York financier Anthony Scaramucci is set to assume the role of White House communications director. Spicer apparently resigned because of that hiring. 

Fleischer, now a Fox News contributor, said the press secretary’s departure is in a sense “part of the White House process” but is taking place “ a little earlier” than usual. 

He said he “wouldn’t be surprised if other people leave.” 

At the same time, Fleischer said presidents “are entitled to have advisers who they want for good advice.”

But he noted Scaramucci’s background in finance, questioning how he’d do in communications. “The president should have advisers they want to hear from and respect. Anthony is more of a finance policy player than a communications person and I’m curious to see what will work out.” 

 “I do have questions about the White House’s ability to manage big communications,” he said.  

Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Spicer resigns from White House team, sources say

Jul 21, 2017 13

DEVELOPING … 

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned over the hiring of a new top communications aide, sources tell the Associated Press.

The move came as Trump booster and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci was expected to be tapped for White House communications director. 

Sanctuary cities: What are they?

Jul 21, 2017 9

A California judge on Thursday refused to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order slashing funds from cities with law enforcement that doesn’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Trump hoped to persuade cities to comply with federal immigration authorities with an executive order that threatened to slash funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

A federal judge issued an injunction blocking the order in April, saying it was too broad and “not legally possible.” On Thursday, that same judge refused to reverse that injunction despite clarification on the order from the White House.

There isn’t a firm legal definition for sanctuary cities, and different cities may have dissimilar rules for how much they comply with federal immigration authorities.  

Here’s a look at what sanctuary cities are and why they are so controversial.

What are sanctuary cities?

While the exact specifications can vary, sanctuary city policies overall limit just how much local law enforcement officials cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

San Francisco, for example, passed an ordinance in 1989 that prohibits city employees, funds or resources from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law unless it’s required by state or federal law.

PHOENIX DROPS SANCTUARY CITY STATUS – AND CRIME GOES DOWN

It also passed an ordinance that limits when law enforcement officials can give ICE notice that an immigrant has been released from a local jail and prohibits law enforcement officials from cooperating with detainer requests from ICE.

Berkeley, near San Francisco, is reportedly the original sanctuary city. It passed a resolution in 1971 that protected sailors who wanted to resist the Vietnam War.

It’s difficult to nail down a concrete number of just how many cities are considered to be a sanctuary for immigrants – some cities have an ordinance or policy in place; others do not.

ICE CHIEF READIES NATIONAL SANCTUARY CITY CRACKDOWN

Aside from cities, at least five states – California, Oregon, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont – have enacted laws that limit how much police can contribute to federal immigration agents, according to the New York Times.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center argues that counties – not just cities – should establish sanctuary policies for undocumented immigrants.

How are they viewed?

The debate about sanctuary cities intensified in July 2015 when Katie Steinle, 32, was killed as she strolled along the San Francisco waterfront with her father. Steinle was fatally shot by a man with a criminal record who had slipped into the U.S. multiple times illegally.

SAN FRANCISCO TO PAY $190G TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT OVER SANCTUARY LAW VIOLATION

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday addressed a roomful of federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials and criticized cities like Philadelphia that are “giving sanctuary” to criminals. He asked them to “reconsider the harm they are doing to their residents.”

ILRC argues that local law enforcement jurisdictions do not have a “legal obligation to assist with civil immigration enforcement, which is the responsibility of the federal government.”

“A local decision to offer resources to federal immigration enforcement authorities is completely voluntary,” the legal organization said in a 2016 report.

ILRC called Trump’s threat to restrict federal funding of sanctuary cities “purely retaliatory in motivation.”

Many mayors of these cities have also bucked the threat and continued to affirm protection for immigrants.

“We are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us, who are part of our communities, whose family members and loved ones happen to be people in many cases who are either permanent residents or citizens,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said in November.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Democrats struggling to raise money under Trump

Jul 21, 2017 13

The Democratic National Committee raised $5.5 million in June, less than half the $13.5 million accumulated by its Republican counterpart, according to Federal Election Commission data released Friday.

The Democrats’ poor fundraising numbers are the latest in a string of weak performances by the party. The DNC has raised $38.1 million in the first six months of 2017 compared to the Republican National Committee’s $75.4 million.

The RNC has nearly six times as much cash on hand as of late June. The DNC reported $7.5 million in the bank and the RNC reported $44.7 million. 

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