Are White House Press Briefings About To Get A Lot Less Spice-y?

Cheriss May/SIPPL Sipa USA

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer won’t be meeting the press quite as often once President Donald Trump returns from his first trip abroad, Politico reported on Thursday.

Spicer isn’t expected to give the daily briefing on camera after Trump gets back from his first international trip as President, Politico reported, citing several unnamed officials familiar with his thinking. Those officials told Politico that Trump no longer wants Spicer, whose crisis-control briefings have spawned crises of their own, to publicly defend his administration.

One senior administration official said that Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will take over more briefings, while another told Politico that there will likely be fewer on-camera briefings overall. Spicer declined to comment for the article.

Axios and the New York Times reported last week that Trump was considering making broad changes to his senior staff in the wake of backlash to his abrupt firing of James Comey as head of the FBI. The White House did not anticipate, and was not prepared for, the fierce reaction to the move.

Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle on Monday said she was in talks with Trump’s administration about replacing Spicer, but later appeared to walk that back, saying that her current job as a co-host of “The Five” is “tough to beat.”

With Spicer absent last week on U.S. Navy Reserve duty, Sanders took the podium for two press briefings in the chaotic aftermath of Comey’s termination. Spicer then replaced two on-camera briefings with off-camera press gaggles this week in the wake of yet more bombshell reports, on the President’s sharing highly classified information with top Russian diplomats and allegedly asking Comey to quash an investigation into his former national security adviser.

Trump seemed equivocal on Spicer’s future job prospects last week, telling Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that the press secretary was “doing a good job, but he gets beat up.”

Asked whether Spicer will remain behind the podium, Trump said only, “Yeah, well, he’s been there from the beginning.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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