Jul 21, 2017

Inside the room at Sean Spicer's resignation announcement

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Reince Priebus and Anthony Scaramucci told the White House comms team earlier today that they were old friends and have known each other forever. While the length of their relationship is a fact, Reince, with the support of Steve Bannon and Sean Spicer, tried to block Scaramucci from getting the job, telling people he was woefully unqualified for the position.

At a 10 a.m. meeting this morning, President Trump offered Scaramucci the job as White House Communications Director.

Spicer quit after that meeting, according to the NYT's Glenn Thrush.

  • "This was the last straw," said a source close to Spicer. The objection of the press secretary and his allies was that Scaramucci would hold the title, while Spicer would be expect to continue to carry out many of the duties related to strategy and planning.
  • "Sean was going to be expected to serve as press secretary while also being the quasi-comms director," the source said.

After the Oval Office meeting: Spicer, Priebus and Scaramucci stood in a row behind Sean's desk in the corner of the press secretary's office. A wall of TVs playing cable news was in the background. Some 40 staff gathered, according to a source in the room.

Spicer started off:

  • "A lot of you are hearing the news, and I want you to hear it directly from us."
  • He praised Scaramucci, said he's a fighter and can do a great job. Everyone applauded for Scaramucci.
  • Spicer added: "I want you all to be the first to hear that I told the president that I'm going to step down, but that I'm going to be very involved in the transition to make sure that Anthony can be very successful."
  • Sean framed the decision as wanting to give Mooch a clean slate.
  • A source in the room said he was very gracious about it, and everyone applauded for Sean.

Reince: "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... has built several businesses.... it was a great choice...."

Scaramucci's comments, after praising Spicer and the comms team:

  • He and Reince have a long relationship that started at a Koch brothers conference.
  • He'd actually tried to hire Reince to be COO with ownership stake of Skybridge, the firm he sold while waiting on a White House job.
  • They've worked closely together since the Romney campaign.

What's next: Scaramucci will spend the next week transitioning into the role and meeting his new staff.

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