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Evan Vucci / AP

Per CNN, the White House is prioritizing its search for a White House Communications Director to help out Sean Spicer, who has been handling that role in addition to his duties as press secretary.

CNN's source says the role "needs to be filled more than ever" as Trump is reportedly unhappy with Spicer's performance as press secretary after Chief of Staff Reince Priebus recommended him for the position. That's been further compounded by Melissa McCarthy's blistering impression of Spicer on SNL last weekend, which did not amuse the president at all.

Twisting the knife: Trump "regrets [the choice of Spicer] every day and blames Priebus."

The last time someone held both positions?: In addition to his duties as communications director, George Stephanopoulos acted as a de facto press secretary at the outset of Bill Clinton's presidency. He only lasted a tumultuous five months in both roles until he was pulled out of the communications department — however, he remained close to Clinton in an influential role as senior advisor on policy and strategy.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.