President Trump is planning to reduce Sean Spicer's role as press secretary, and may reduce him right out of a job, multiple sources told "The New York Times" and "Politico" on Thursday. The change may come next week, when Trump returns from a nine-day foreign trip that other sources indicate will not put him in the best mood.
Trump, who has been vocally discontented with his press staff in recent days, is said to be planning to cut down on Spicer's on-camera time. He may hand over Spicer's press briefing duties entirely to deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (whose "basic atrocities" may be the new "alternative facts"), reported the "Times," "Politico" and "BuzzFeed News."
And Trump may be planning to do more press conferences himself, the news outlets reported.
Last week, Trump said on Fox News that he might do away with press conferences altogether.
“Just don’t have them,” Trump said to Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. “Unless I have them every two weeks and I do them myself, we don’t have them. I think it’s a good idea.”
Trump has also floated the idea of replacing the current press briefing format with one that featured prewritten questions and answers.
The relationship between Trump and Spicer has had polar ups and downs. As recently as April 24, Trump had praised Spicer because he "gets great ratings." But he was said to be annoyed that Spicer became a living meme, caricatured by Melissa McCarthy on "Saturday Night Live" as overly combative with the press. Trump's main objection was said to be that Spicer was portrayed by a woman.
Reports of Spicer's diminished role come days after he conducted a delayed, much-derided press briefing about the president's firing of FBI director James Comey, before which he stood among bushes near the White House. It also follows Trump's sit-down interview with NBC's Lester Holt last week, in which he contradicted nearly all of Spicer's stated rationale for why he fired FBI director James Comey.
The development also comes days after an "SNL" sketch depicted Spicer making out with the president in a "Godfather"-like kiss of death.