President Donald Trump has appointed longtime supporter and smooth-talking Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as his new communications director, prompting the most-known public face of his scandal-hit administration, Sean Spicer, to quit as the White House press secretary.
The revamp comes amid investigations into Russia's alleged involvement in the US presidential election last year and whether Trump's campaign managers colluded with Moscow. Scaramucci, 53, currently serves as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank. He will officially begin in his new role on August 15.
"In this capacity, he will oversee the entire communications operation, including message development and strategy. He will report directly to the President," the White House said.
His appointment preceded with the resignation of Spicer, whose tenure as the press secretary was overshadowed by the controversies he often landed himself into. Spicer's nearly six-month tenure began with a run-in with the US media over competing claims about the crowd size at Trump's inauguration and he was often mocked on popular TV shows for his aggressive attitude towards journalists.
"It's been an honour & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August," Spicer tweeted after his appointment.
Spicer, who held the responsibility of the communications director after Mike Dubke quit in May, reportedly was unhappy with the choice for the post and told Trump he vehemently disagreed with Scaramucci's appointment. His deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders would replace him. Sanders said she was looking forward to work with the new communications director.
During his introductory appearance at the White House, Scaramucci appeared relaxed and expressed a desire to improve the Trump administration's relationship with the US media.
A Wall Street personal, Scaramucci said he is an incrementalist. "To say something overly bold or overly dramatic is unfair. What good entrepreneurs do is they start the day and they go through the process," he said, indicating that he would like to work with the communications team.
Scaramucci praised Trump and said he was "proud" to join his administration. "The ship is going in the right direction. I think we've got...the direction very, very clearly," he told reporters at the White House after his appointment yesterday. He gave an indication of his way of operation and said the US president needs to express his own identity.
"The President himself is always going to be the President. I was in the Oval Office with him earlier today, and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity," he said.
He said Trump would ultimately win the healthcare fight. "The President has really good karma. And the world turns back to him...I think as members of Congress get to know him better and get comfortable with him, they're going to let him lead them to the right things for the American people."
In a statement, Trump said: "Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this administration. He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team."
The US President said he was "grateful" to Spicer on behalf of his administration. "I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings."