At Monday’s White House press briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took to the podium instead of her boss, Sean Spicer. She suggested she may do so more often in the future, and that Spicer may have less presence at the daily briefings.
When the press asked Huckabee Sanders why Spicer wasn’t conducting the briefing, she said he was at work and she was filling in as part of her usual duties. As the media pressed for more details, Huckabee Sanders admitted that Spicer is “taking on a little bit of extra duty” and that his role has changed. “It’s probably upgraded at this point, given that we don’t have a communications director,” Huckabee Sanders said of Spicer’s role.
Recently, Michael Dubke stepped down as communications director. Dubke, who had ties to Karl Rove, was considered an “establishment republican” who could help the president with messaging. He tendered his resignation on May 18, but didn’t hand over his duties until last week.
“There are a lot of demands on his schedule, particularly given the fact that there is not a communications director and this is part of my job as well and when needed, I’ll step in,” Huckabee Sanders said regarding shifts in her and Spicer’s duties.
Spicer has been criticized in the past for his combative relationship with the press corps. Huckabee Sanders filled in for Spicer during a tumultuous time in May during the fallout after Trump fired FBI Director Jame Comey. Some found her fierce performance a refreshing change.
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