Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, appears to be bearing most of the blame for the media firestorm caused by FBI Director James Comey's termination.
Politico reported Thursday that President Donald Trump was holding an audition for Spicer's replacement on Wednesday when he had the deputy White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, perform the daily press briefing.
According to The Washington Post, Trump has been irate with his communications team, which, he believes, fumbled the rollout over Comey's abrupt firing. Since Comey discovered he was fired via a breaking news broadcast, media outlets have run wall-to-wall coverage speculating whether the president inappropriately fired his FBI director in order to impede an investigation he was leading against him.
According to the Post, Trump sat down for dinner and TV on the night of Comey's firing and noticed that no one on cable news was defending him. The president somehow landed on Spicer as the person responsible for all the negative coverage.
“This is probably the most egregious example of press and communications incompetence since we’ve been here,” one West Wing official told The Post. “It was an absolute disaster. And the president watched it unfold firsthand. He could see it.”
It likely did not help Spicer's job prospects when his first public briefing with reporters after Comey's dismissal came outside of the White House, in the dark, among the bushes.
One White House official told CNN that the reason Sanders performed the press briefing Wednesday was because Spicer had been benched this week.
Another official disputed this, noting that Spicer has Navy Reserve duties this week and, therefore, he could not be on the White House grounds to brief reporters.