WASHINGTON — Sean Spicer said Friday night that President Donald Trump did not want him to resign as White House press secretary but “understood” that it was in the best interest of the administration.
Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Spicer said that while he had previously considered resigning, it was his decision alone to leave his post as press secretary and give it over to a new communications team under Anthony Scaramucci, who was named the new White House communications director, and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will be taking over the press secretary position. The White House announced Spicer’s resignation earlier on Friday.
“He’s been very gracious throughout this process,” Spicer said of Trump. “My decision was to recommend to the President that I give Anthony and Sarah a clean slate to start from, so that they can talk about the President’s agenda and help move it forward. And he, after some back and forth, understood that the offer that I was making was something that was in the best interest of the administration.”
Spicer added that he believed it was in the best interest of the White House to not have “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
Spicer’s resignation caps off a rollercoaster six-month tenure as the chief spokesman for an administration besieged by a steady drumbeat of controversy. His decision to leave came after Scaramucci, a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser, accepted the new job as communications director, a move Spicer adamantly opposed, multiple sources said. His resignation came in spite of Trump’s request that he remain in this position, a White House official and top GOP advisers said.
Asked by Hannity about his thoughts on how the media portrayed him, specifically the coverage he got on “Saturday Night Live,” Spicer said he at times found the representation amusing but other times thought it went too far.
“I think that there were parts of it that were funny, but there’s a lot of it that was over the line,” he said. “It wasn’t funny. It was stupid, or silly, or malicious. But there were some skits on late-night television that I did crack up at. So sometimes it can be funny. Some of the memes you have to crack up about. But sometimes it goes from funny to mean.”
Spicer had less understanding words for the media he dealt with on a daily basis at the White House.
“I was increasingly disappointed in how so many members of the media do their job, or rather don’t do their job,” he said. “I think there has been more click-bait mentality. They are more interested in the click and their clip than they are the facts.”
Spicer continued: The majority, they are not there for the facts or pursuit of the truth. They are there to get on TV — to be a YouTube star.”
Trump tweeted his thanks to Spicer on Friday night, saying, “Sean Spicer is a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the Fake News Media — but his future is bright!”
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who was also interviewed on the program, said Trump and Spicer will continue to support each other.
“Sean leaving doesn’t mean that Sean isn’t going to be out there supporting President Trump, and it doesn’t mean that President Trump isn’t going to be out there supporting Sean Spicer,” Priebus said.
Priebus also denied reports that there is any tension or animosity between himself and Scaramucci. Priebus said that their paths crossed at the Republican National Committee and that he almost worked for Scaramucci after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election.
Priebus added that they’ve “done a lot of things together” and Scaramucci was a “close friend.”