President Donald Trump's White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, resigned yesterday as Trump appointed a new communications director.
Spicer was reportedly opposed to the addition of Anothony Scaramucci, a New York financier and former Trump campaign fundraiser, to the President's press team.
Sarah Sanders, principal deputy press secretary, will take over Spicer's position when he leaves at the end of August.
“I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities – just look at his great television ratings,” Trump said in a statement delivered by Sanders.
Sean Spicer is a wonderful person who took tremendous abuse from the Fake News Media - but his future is bright!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Spicer took to Twitter to announce it had been “an honour and a privilege” to serve the US president.
A tough six months
The outgoing press secretary has had a tumultuous six months in his role, not least for his efforts in trying to play down collusion between Trump's team and Moscow during the US presidential election.
As well as Spicer's more comical moments, such being vilified on Twitter for wearing odd shoes (it turned out one was actually a foot brace) or facing accusations from the press that he was hiding from questions in bushes, his statements have been repeatedly undermined by Trump's own tweets and words.
For example, when FBI director James Comey was fired by the President in May, Spicer had seemingly been briefed to say that Trump acted on the recommendations of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But later, after suspicions had grown that the firing may have something to do with the investigated Trump team and Russia collusion, the President said in an NBC interview: “I was going to fire Comey. My decision. I was going to fire Comey. There’s no good time to do it, by the way. I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”
Nor did Spicer do himself any favours on social media. Within the first week of Trump's presidency, Spicer had twice tweeted out a string of characters which somewhat resembled the format of a password.
He also made a number of gaffes, such as comparing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to Hitler and then implying that the genocidal German leader was the lesser of two evils – because, apparently, he had never gassed his people.
Twitter, of course, responded with some truly cynical remarks and memes were aplenty.
Several users referenced Spicer's bush-hiding episode, captioning a fleeing figure on a bike badly disguised with grass as "Sean Spicer leaving the White House".
"Sean Spicer wanted to spend more time lying to his family," posted another user.
Sean Spicer wanted to spend more time lying to his family.— Ryan Houlihan 🏳️🌈 (@RyanHoulihan) July 21, 2017
Others seemed to think that Spicer was making the right move, as one tweet said: "I want one day to feel the sense of relief Sean Spicer is feeling right now."
I want one day to feel the sense of relief Sean Spicer is feeling right now.— marcio barcelos (@marciobarcelos) July 22, 2017