WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been elevated to the role of White House press secretary following Sean Spicer’s resignation on Friday.
Sanders has stepped in for Spicer to conduct the daily briefings in recent weeks, although many have been off-camera.
Anthony Scaramucci, the fund manager and former Fox Business personality who was named communications director on Friday, appeared at the briefing to announce Sanders’ promotion.
Scaramucci answered questions from reporters at the briefing, often emphasizing his business background and at times making self-deprecating quips. He pushed back on reports that he has a rift with Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, and instead said that they were “like brothers” who “rough each other up once in a while.”
He did not commit to holding televised briefings, saying that it was something that he had to discuss with Donald Trump.
“I am obviously committed to being transparent … but I would like to talk it over with the president,” he said.
Scaramucci also said that he would like to “de-escalate” what he characterized as media bias, amid acrimony between the administration and the press corps. Trump routinely has labeled media outlets as “fake news,” and once called them the “enemy of the American people.”
“I have never been a journalist, but I played a journalist on TV,” Scaramucci quipped, a reference to his role as a co-host of “Wall Street Week.” He declared that he had “a lot of empathy for journalists.”
But Scaramucci’s appearance shed light on why Trump picked him. At least in his first appearance, he was colorful and loyal.
Asked how he would tackle the job, particularly having no previous government experience.
“If you want to eat an elephant, you have to eat it one bite at a time,” he said.
He made it clear that he did not think that the administration was on the wrong track, but that its message was not being communicated.
“The White House is on track and we are doing a very good job,” he said, and at once said, “We are going to do a lot of winning.”
He also hoped that his past criticisms of Trump as a “hack” politician would be forgotten, and there were reports that he has been deleting tweets in which he attacked Trump. Scaramucci also said that “my guess is there is probably some level of truth” to Trump’s contention that millions of people voted illegally. There so far is no evidence that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election.
As he finished, Scaramucci blew an air kiss to the press corps.
Sanders read a statement from Trump on the resignation of Spicer and his appointment of Scaramucci.
The president wished Spicer well, and even noted his “great television ratings.” That was a reference to the extent to which the daily briefings became must-see daytime TV, as the administration responded to a series of bombshell stories.
Sanders is the daughter of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. She managed his 2016 presidential campaign, and later joined Trump’s White House bid.