President Donald Trump appointed close ally Anthony Scaramucci as his new White House communications director on Friday.
Scaramucci, a former Goldman Sachs banker and a member of the Trump transition team, takes over the role once held by Mike Dubke, who resigned in May after just three months on the job. In the interim, White House press secretary Sean Spicer had assumed the bulk of the position’s responsibilities. Spicer resigned on Friday, reportedly in protest of Scaramucci’s hiring.
In a Friday afternoon press briefing, Scaramucci announced that Sarah Huckabee Sanders, previously the deputy press secretary, had been promoted to press secretary.
The personnel changes appear to be linked to uncertainty brewing among White House staff. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was reportedly blindsided by the news. According to Axios, Priebus found about Scaramucci’s hiring only after the plans were already set. Rumors that Trump was considering firing Priebus have emerged sporadically for months.
Scaramucci was previously said to have been tapped for a different role in the administration, within the White House’s Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. That appointment never went through and he took a job instead as senior vice president and chief strategy officer for the U.S. Export-Import Bank.
Scaramucci was at the center of controversy last month after CNN was forced to retract a story about his alleged connections to a Russian bank. Three of the journalists who worked on the article resigned.