Sarah Huckabee Sanders was promoted Friday to White House press secretary, replacing Sean Spicer in the wake of his abrupt resignation.
Sanders addressed reporters on camera alongside newly named White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. While Spicer’s resignation was delivered in apparent protest over the hiring of Scaramucci, the two top officials in the White House press shop worked Friday to project steadiness amid the palace intrigue.
“The president loves Sarah,” Scaramucci said, announcing Sanders’ promotion. “He thinks she’s doing a phenomenal job. I agree with him. I think Reince Priebus and other members of the staff agree. And I’m super proud to work with her. And I think she’s going to be phenomenal as a press secretary.”
Sanders most recently served as deputy press secretary, increasingly filling in for Spicer during on-camera and off-camera briefings.
The daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders managed her father’s presidential campaign in 2016 before joining Trump’s.
During her first appearance at the podium on Friday as press secretary, Sanders said taking the job at the White House is “one of the greatest honors that any person could ever have.”
“To get to do that up here in such a public way and speak on behalf of the president is absolutely an honor,” Sanders said. “It’s something I will cherish, and will hope to do my very best every single day. And be as open, honest and transparent with you all as humanly possible.”
Friday’s job announcements amount to a major shakeup in the president’s press shop at an already tumultuous time.
Sanders confirmed Spicer left because of the president’s plans to bring in new people, like Scaramucci.
“He understood that the president wanted to bring in and add new people to the team,” she said. “And Sean felt like it would be best for that team to be able to start with a totally clean slate.”
Sanders said Spicer will “stay on for the next several of weeks” through the transition.
Spicer, who spoke with Fox News on Friday, said the White House was at a point where Trump could benefit from a clean slate.
Speculation about Spicer’s status with the White House has been up and down for months.
Spicer originally was supposed to lead a newly restructured communications operation. Under that structure, the communications director would report to him. Scaramucci said Friday he would report to the president directly.
Spicer’s departure comes as Trump has shown growing frustration over the Russia investigation. Though Spicer has defended Trump throughout the controversy, he has taken on a lower-profile role in recent weeks.
Scaramucci, a former Wall Street financier, thanked Spicer for his service in the administration.
“Sean is a true American patriot. He’s a military serviceman,” Scaramucci said. “He’s got a great family. And he’s done an amazing job. This is obviously a difficult situation to be in. And I applaud his efforts here. And I love the guy. And I wish him well. And I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.”