After Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, elevating Gerald Ford, the new Republican president needed a new White House team. Ford tapped Jerald terHorst, a veteran journalist, to be the press secretary, and he seemed like a perfectly sensible choice.
The arrangement, however, did not last. A month into Ford’s tenure, the new president issued a controversial pardon to Nixon, and unwilling to defend the decision, terHorst resigned. His tenure – just 31 days – was the shortest of any White House press secretary ever.The second shortest was Sean Spicer, who lasted 182 days.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned on Friday, sources tell NBC News.
The sudden departure comes as Donald Trump transition team official Anthony Scaramucci was slated to be announced as White House communications director.
For more on Scaramucci’s apparent appointment, see our piece from this morning.
By any fair estimate, Spicer was never an ideal choice for this position. Trump’s principal spokesperson quickly developed a reputation for brazen dishonesty and clumsy evasiveness, both of which made it easy for hilarious impressions, but difficult for competent work from the podium of the White House briefing room.
Some of my personal favorite moments from Spicer’s brief-but-tumultuous tenure included the time he was caught hiding in the bushes for several minutes; his spirited argument over the meaning of the word “is”; the terribly unfortunate reference to “Holocaust centers”; his unintentionally hilarious instance that Trump’s inaugural crowd “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period”; the argument that the Republican health care bill must be superior to the Affordable Care Act because it can be printed on fewer pieces of paper; and many, many more moments we can all collectively treasure.
As for the growing list of Trump World departures, we can now update the overall tally. Note, some of the departures were voluntary, some weren’t.
- Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor
- K.T. McFarland, Deputy National Security Advisor
- Monica Crowley, advisor to the National Security Council
- Katie Walsh, Deputy White House Chief of Staff
- Boris Epshteyn, a Special Assistant to the President (he led the White House’s television surrogate operation)
- Andy Puzder, nominee for Labor Secretary
- Vincent Viola, nominee for Army Secretary
- Philip Bilden, nominee for Navy Secretary
- Shermichael Singleton, Senior Adviser at HUD
- Craig Deare, the NSC’s senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs
- Marcus Peacock, senior White House budget adviser at OMB
- Todd Ricketts, nominee for Deputy Commerce Secretary
- Mark Green, nominee for Army Secretary
- James Donavan, nominee for Deputy Treasury Secretary
- Mike Dubke, White House communications director
- Tera Dahl, deputy chief of staff at the National Security Council
- Sean Spicer, White House press secretary
For a White House team that’s only existed for six months, this represents a rather volatile employment environment.