Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Sean Spicer Resigns as Press Secretary; Anthony Scaramucci Fills Communications Director Position; White House Press Briefing. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired July 21, 2017 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ever seen before. He has every right to do that. So you can change any job. The communications director can be your front man, provided that person then builds a staff of deputies who understand the complexities of the job.

And we're six months into the Trump administration and I think it's a fair statement that they simply have not understood that. This was supposed to be "Made in America Week." The president did some events at the White House. Did Harley Davidson do an event in Wisconsin? Did Government Scott Walker go, you know, and go -- in states that Trump won, did they have echo chamber events across?

When he talks about health care, when he's trying to pass health care, did he go to the right districts and campaign? Did he have interest groups launch ads at the right time? There's been no coordination, the traditional coordination you see between a White House, your own political party, here in Washington and out in the states, and with the constituent groups that want to help you, that actually want to help you. There's been none of that in this administration.

In part, that's the communications director's job and the political director's job and the chief of staff's job. Six months in, what do we hear constantly? Everybody is re-fitting themselves, retasking, panicking inside the White House because the president's mad at them. If you conduct an administration where your priority is every day to make sure the president still likes you, you're not going to get to the business of health care.

You think health care's complicated for Republicans? Watch tax reform. Every second we're having this conversation, we're closer to 2018. If the president's had a hard time getting anything big done in his first year in office, when you traditionally get a honeymoon. Try doing it in a midterm election year. So -- so they -- is this a reset or is Anthony Scaramucci going to be the next person the president gets mad at is the big question.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is a big question. But I just -- I just think it's important to underscore something that you just said, that this is completely like nothing we've ever seen before. And Nia is right, that Anthony Scaramucci has none of the experience in doing the job of a traditional communications director, strategizing, getting The Hill involved and so forth. But as a good friend of his pointed out to me a short while ago, he doesn't need those skills when the president is the guy he's working for who will change that with a tweet or with a whim or with anything that we've seen over the past six months. That they're -- that they, in a way, have a little bit more self-awareness of the guy that they're dealing with in the Oval Office. Right or wrong, it's just the way he is. He ain't going to change. So that's what they're building around.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I wouldn't be surprised if --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's something -- one of the other things that's interesting is that this is not the first spokesperson of the White House in the last 24 hours to resign. The spokesman for President Trump's legal team, Mark Corallo, he has already stepped down. And if you read the Politico piece about why he stepped down, it's pretty vicious in terms of what Corallo thought about how dysfunctional it was within the White House.

At some point, and I'll bring Nia back on this because I know she has strong feelings, at some point it's not a communications problem.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Right. It's the communications problem of this president, right? I mean he's the common denominator here. And we know he likes to tweet. And he also promised that he would bring people around him, sort of the best people in the business. And there was always the thinking, at least from Republicans, that those people could corral the president and really bring out the best in this president. And whatever his worst instincts were, they could kind of curb those.

And you see, I think with Anthony Scaramucci, it's not clear that he's going to be able to do that. It's not even clear that that's what this White House, this president wants him to do. He seems to be doubling down on Trumpism in many ways. And I think there also is this concern, you've got Sarah Huckabee Sanders right now who is in that deputy press secretary -- there's no indication that she wants the press secretary job. Are they going to be able to fill that slot? I mean that's one of the problems, people don't want to necessarily go into this White House. And they offered a lot of these jobs to other people. They haven't wanted to take them -- take these jobs because of this chaos that the president likes, that he feeds into as well.

BORGER: A source just texted me and said, don't be surprised if you see Scaramucci at this -- appear at this briefing today. So we may actually be able to hear from him. We'll see. As a -- as a in his first job as a spokesman of sorts --

HENDERSON: Yes.

BORGER: For the president and see what the president really likes about him.

TAPPER: Well, we should also point out -- and again, I understand that President Trump does things differently. Normally people who -- BORGER: You would see that.

TAPPER: No, but normally new press secretaries spend weeks, if not months, preparing for standing behind that podium.

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: What you say can have an effect on the markets. It can have an effect on -- literally on lives, on war and peace. And so just because somebody's a killer on TV, on a Fox Business News hit, doesn't mean, OK, he's fine, he's ready for the job.

John.

KING: I just want to make the point, this is a huge personnel shake-up at the White House and the world has come to know Sean Spicer as the spokesman for the president from day one the debate over crowd size, to I didn't ask the president about fundamental questions like did Russia interfere in our elections. It has been a dysfunctional relationship for the news media and between the press secretary and the president for some time.

But at the core of it, to Dana's point, it took Sean Spicer a lot longer than some of his friends had recommended and advised him, but he came to the conclusion, the president has lost confidence in me, therefore I should not serve the president.

[14:05:04] But what do you do if you're the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, today? This is about the Trump management style. The Trump presidency. The chief of staff and the chief strategist apparently were overruled on this one. That happens. That happens sometimes. That doesn't necessarily mean you can't serve the president because you disagreed on one big thing. You would hope there are big debates inside every White House about big things. But if you're the attorney general and the president just made clear to "The New York Times" that I wouldn't have given you the job if I knew you were going to do what you did, now you have the shake-up at the White House.

This is a -- there's a culture here where people in the Trump White House walk on egg shells and think every day, I need to make sure the president is happy with me. That's a hard way to run a government.

TAPPER: Take a listen to Anthony Scaramucci on CNN in just the past month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It appears from the outside, at least for right now, is that they are going to redesign the communications strategy and they'll probably -- maybe Sean will go to another role inside the White House, or put somebody else behind the podium.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Do you think that's likely, that they'll move him? SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. I mean I've read some of the press

speculation. Some of the people that I've talked to inside the White House are saying that they're exploring a couple of different ideas. I mean this is one of the things that I do like about the president. You know, he's an entrepreneur and he'll experiment and do different things.

I think he's very loyal to Sean. I think Sean is a very hard-working guy. He's got great communication experience. And he may be the communications director or maybe even an assistant to, you know, Reince Priebus or something like that. Hard to really know from the outside, to be candid. But what I do like is that they're going to try to experiment and I think maybe that's why they're off camera for a short period of time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Joining us right now is Jason Miller. He's a former senior communications adviser for the Trump campaign.

Jason, what's your take on all this? From the outside, it certainly looks pretty dysfunctional.

JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think so at all, Jake. I mean keep in mind the communications director spot has been open for a while here and so Anthony was coming in to fill it. I think Sean took a look at the situation and said, you know what, I'm going to go ahead and give Anthony the opportunity to go and build this out.

But I will take a moment here to say that I am disappointed that Sean is leaving. I think in a lot of ways Sean has been one of the rocks that's been helping to hold this administration together on the messaging side. Sean is someone who's been doing this for 20 years. He's a very professional, very sharp operator. He's someone who definitely knows what he's doing. He's an absolute first class professional.

I'm disappointed to see him go. I'm glad he's going to be staying around at least through August to help with the transition period. And, you know, the good thing for Sean, though, I'm sure he's going to be able to sleep in this weekend and he's going to be making a lot more money in whatever he goes and does next.

TAPPER: Let's bring in Rick Wilson. He's a long-time Republican strategist and he has been critical of President Trump.

Rick, you were laughing during that little -- the remarks just by Jason Miller.

RICK WILSON, FORMER STRATEGIST, RUDY GIULIANI'S 2000 SENATE CAMPAIGN: There's absolutely no one on this planet who can, with a straight face, say that the White House communications shop is working well. And the chaos and the dissension and all the -- all the -- all the things that led Sean to finally pull the ejection handle here have been with us from the beginning. And it really comes down to one thing. It's that Donald Trump doesn't have a communications staff that he will listen to. He doesn't have a chief of staff he will listen to.

No matter who -- whether Anthony Scaramucci's good or bad on TV, as you said, if he's good on a Fox Business hit, it's different from being able to discipline the president in enormously consequential matters, things that are of national consequence, life and death, national security, the markets, the economy with a guy with an itchy Twitter finger and a sense of self-regard that is so broad, like he didn't inform any of his other communications team that they were having "The New York Times" in to give an interview that turns out to have blown up his administration, opened up a whole bunch of new areas of investigation. It's really quite stunning that anybody can defend Trump's White House when it's Trump's the communications -- the core of the communications difficulties here and he always will be. He's not going to change.

TAPPER: Jason. Jason.

MILLER: So here's where I think Anthony Scaramucci is going to do well, is he has a very good sense of the president's style. He was with us in the campaign, with us in the transition. He understands how the president approaches these matters. He understands the policy. He's been active on TV. I mean we've seen some of his interviews with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, the epic 15, 20, 30-minute sit-downs where they go through and get very in-depth into policy.

Look, Scaramucci is a very smart guy. He's sharp. He understand this policy. And I think he's another additional voice that will be able to come into the White House and help shape and mold the messaging structure of how they're going to go and get the president's message out.

And I think that's one of the things that we need to keep in mind here is ultimately this is President Trump's White House. He's the one who's going to dictate the direction that this is going to go and everyone there works for him to help try to implement his message.

TAPPER: Rick.

WILSON: But reinforcing all of -- reinforcing all of Donald Trump's impulsive, almost childlike urges to be the center of attention every day and to say whatever comes out of his mind at that moment, like political Tourette's is not something that is going to help this White House become more credible and more viable at communicating an agenda because it is still going to end up being Donald Trump talking about whatever his impulse is and the voices in his head drive him to talk about that day.

[14:10:14] And I think Scaramucci is a bit of a yes man. He's a bit of a family friend. And so Trump is going to expect him to be rah, rah boss, go -- let's go have fun and do what you want. You know, it's like -- you know, believe me, I'd love to eat fried chicken every day, but I'll be 400 pounds if I do. You know, you can't give into your impulses every minute of the day and I think Scaramucci will actually do that for Trump much more than the old, more experienced Washington hands like Sean Spicer would have. TAPPER: Let me bring in Brian Stelter right now. He has some new

reporting about this quite eventful day at the White House, although that's, at this point, rather redundant.

Brian.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And it's only 2:00 p.m., Jake.

Last hour on CNN I was saying this is the latest sign of dysfunction to have a press secretary resign after only six months. Normally, press secretaries last for a couple of years.

I have a senior West Wing source, watching, pushing back on that saying, hey, no, this is a sign the president is actually trying to eliminate the dysfunction. This source is saying, and take this for what it's worth, spin from the West Wing saying that Scaramucci will bring great energy, new perspective. He likes the press and the press likes him. Hopefully this will take the temperature down a notch.

Now, I think that's very interesting because Scaramucci's a happy warrior on TV. As you were saying, Jake, he's a fighter on television. He likes defending the president on TV. But we'll see if Scaramucci can actually take the temperature down and maybe improve relations between the president and the press.

TAPPER: Sara Murray is in the Briefing Room right now as we await the on-camera, we're told, White House briefing. The first on-camera briefing in quite some time.

Sara, what about the theory that a senior White House official or administration official just told Brian Stelter, that maybe Scaramucci will be a cure for the dysfunction and is not -- and it's not fair to see him -- his coming in as an example of it.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that that's easy to say before he takes the job. Remember, a lot of people have said that about Sean Spicer as he was coming into the White House. That he had a lot of good relationships with members of the press. He worked as a spokesperson for the RNC for a long time, and that he would also make the relationship a little bit less toxic.

It is true that Anthony Scaramucci has great relationships with different television network, with different media reporters, all basically across the board. But I think what we saw with Spicer is, it's a lot harder once you get in the job. It's a lot harder once you show up at the podium.

And we'll see what the confines of this job look like for Scaramucci. The White House has made clear that they don't necessarily view these roles in a traditional sense. That we may see Scaramucci on television a lot defending the president. We may see him doing strategy. I think that remains to be seen. It's possible we'll get more details on that from Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she comes out to brief, or even from Anthony Scaramucci himself. I think they are trying to sort of send a sense of calm from the White

House today, even though it's clearly anything but calm here. But, I mean, just the fact that Reince Priebus is putting out statements saying that he's happy about this Scaramucci hire, the fact that Sean Spicer got on the phone with Dana and said he's just making way for Scaramucci to sort of be able to build his own team, does say that everyone kind of wants to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, at least for optics.

Obviously that's not what has been going on behind the scenes. You don't resign in protest if everything's going fine, Jake.

TAPPER: Anita Dunn, former communications director for the Obama White House, it's easier for somebody like Scaramucci, who's kind of a -- who has been a voluntary talking head, a voluntary spokesperson for the president, to go out on his own terms when it's good for him. It's easier, I should say. Than it is day in, day out, going to that podium, sitting in that office.

For instance, today, were it not for the Spicer resignation, the top story right now would be that President Trump has told aides, according to reporting in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post," that he's interested in knowing what his pardoning powers are when it comes to pardoning his family or his advisers or even himself, that people in the White House are trying to dig up incriminating information about investigators with Special Counsel Bob Mueller's office and on and on. Those kind of day in, day out difficult questions to answer, that's going to be less fun than Anthony Scaramucci choosing when he wants to go on TV to make his point and defend the president.

ANITA DUNN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, Jake, there's no doubt that it's very different inside than outside. One of the things about being outside a White House is that it's always easy to sit there and say, oh, they should have done this, they should have done that, why aren't they doing this. It's very different once you're inside the West Wing and you're the person who's responsible for trying to make sure things run smoothly. And that the White House is presenting a coherent message to the public in the face of so many things that you can't control happening every day.

[14:14:58] I want to agree with Sara on a point that she made, because I think it's very important, which is, Sean Spicer went into this job with a lot of friends in the Washington press corps and with a very good reputation. And I think he probably, after leaving this job, will be able to rekindle a lot of those friendships and a lot of that reputation again. But at the end of the day, you're only as good in these jobs as the president you serve and the amount of trust that he gives you to be honest with him, to give your best, blunt advice, to actually go out there, design a strategy, and implement it. And so part of this -- part of what Anthony Scaramucci is probably going to learn is that it's a lot easier to be a friend on the outside than to be staff on the inside.

TAPPER: Gloria Borger, Anita Dunn just expressing what a lot of us have said for a long time, that before he joined the Trump team, Sean Spicer had a very respected reputation in Washington, D.C., good relations with people, good relations with reporters. And I'm not sure that he leaves the position he has with that reputation or with those relations.

BORGER: Right. Look, he's presided over a huge credibility gap that this White House has between the press and that podium. And, as a result, a large part of the American public, I think. And Sean, in his previous incarnation, was somebody that we have all covered and we didn't feel that way.

But from his first day on the job, when he had to come out and he spoke about the crowd size, that became a problem for him. And it didn't get any better. And so the question that I have is, as a journalist, is this credibility problem going to get any better now, or is Scaramucci there to channel Donald Trump in every way, shape, and form. Because when that happens, then the credibility gap kind of, you know, can really increase.

And I think there are lots of journalists who cover the White House every day, I'm not one of them, but there are lots of journalists who cover the White House every day who want a more responsive White House to their questions, and they want to be able to believe what is coming from that podium. And there have been many times that they don't. And I think that is something that needs to get resolved.

KING: That echoes up on Capitol Hill as well. Senior Republicans are mad at this White House, frustrated with this White House -- pick your term for it. Some of it's not so family friendly, polite when you talk about it. And if Anthony Scaramucci's job is to keep the president happy and that means saying what the president wants you to say, not shrugging with the president tweets that Barack Obama's wiretapping me, or tweets things that undermine the health care negotiations on Capitol Hill, then it might keep the president happy, but what about the governing challenge.

And so that's the big question on Capitol Hill where they weren't happy with everything Sean Spicer said but Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus were people they know, some people who they at least could vent to and communicate to and with about these things. So let's have an open mind about this and see what Anthony Scaramucci does, a, in his own work and, b, in the people he brings in for this structure.

But he should know, as he does this too, that this happens after months of the White House going through this. I know two people who were reached out to by the highest level of the White House and asked if they were interested in the press secretary's job, told they could be part of shaping the new communications team. Both of them said, no, thank you, sir, because they didn't want any part of this chaos. But as Anthony Scaramucci comes in -- and he's not the first choice, or at least he's not the only choice in this continued part of the shake-up, which gets you back to the big question, is this a reset, a new approach, or is Anthony Scaramucci the latest person who in a week or two we will hear the president's mad at.

TAPPER: So let me bring back Jason Miller and Rick Wilson. Jason, I guess the big question is, if you listen to the panel here, will it serve Anthony Scaramucci and the country and the president better if Anthony Scaramucci is somebody who's able to say, President Trump, I am not going to go out there and argue that your crowd was bigger than President Obama's because it was not. I am not going to go out there and defend this false charge that you've made, pick, x, y, z, because it's not true. And that will not help you. Or is he going to do what Sean Spicer did? Don't you agree that that's a big question, Jason?

MILLER: Well, Jake, I love the two options that you gave me there. Look, here's what I know about Anthony Scaramucci, is that --

TAPPER: Because they're fact-based -- they're fact-based options.

MILLER: It's because Anthony Scaramucci is no shrinking violet. He will go and offer his opinions to the president. Sometimes he's going to -- sometimes the president will agree with him. Sometimes he won't. But Anthony knows who's the president of the United States and who he works for.

And going back a moment to where there was some of the commentary about Scaramucci just going out on the good days. Look, I worked with Anthony day in and day out on the campaign, just like I did with Sean, and we had a lot of tough days on our campaign, our winning campaign, I would remind folks. And both of those mem went out there and fought hard every single time. Neither one of them ever shied away from the tough days or the brutal news cycles that we had. And Anthony's not going to shy away. And I don't think there's going to be any issue with him going out there and dong this every single day.

[14:20:02] And, look, Anthony very much -- and we've seen this from watching CNN, where he sits down and will have very substantive, in depth, policy-oriented conversations with hosts on this network where he can actually sit down and dive into those things and, I think, really have a unique way of communicating the president's message.

And, look, he's going to have his own style. I don't think it's really -- there's a way to compare when you go from, say, one person who might be a press secretary and another person who's a communications director. We still haven't heard from the White House what the exact structure is going to be, if there's going to be a promotion of Sarah Huckabee Sanders or if they're going to do something else for the actual press secretary role. But the one thing I know is that the president is going to listen to Anthony Scaramucci. And like I said, sometime he'll listen to him, sometimes he might disagree with him. But Anthony also is not going to be shy about offering up his opinion. That's why they have him.

TAPPER: Rick?

WILSON: I come back to this again, Jake. Donald Trump's impulsive nature and his short attention span, you know, he won't listen to his attorneys when they tell him to stop tweeting. He won't listen to communications staff when they tell him to stop obsessing about fake news. He won't listen to his legislative side guys who tell him, please stay on message about health care or whatever other issue we're talking about.

This is the White House that is always at the whim of Donald Trump. And Anthony Scaramucci may be a familiar tribal figure to them, they may know him from the campaign, he may be a made guy on the campaign, but he is still going to face the difficulty of having to chase the rabbit that is Donald Trump, who's running from idea to idea to idea every day, and I don't think anyone has demonstrated that they can go in the Oval Office and make Donald Trump a better president.

He's not very good at being president, and it stems from his own internal character flaws. And I don't think anybody can really manage that. And Scaramucci, like he could be a pit bull all day on TV, but when Donald Trump -- when the guy walks out of the room, we've heard this from many, many people, they say something to Donald Trump, they walk out of the room, he does the exact opposite. His attorneys say, don't tweet about this. They leave, he tweets. I don't think this guy is going to have a magical power to change Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Jason.

MILLER: But I think you're missing the point. Yes, it's -- I wouldn't even describe Anthony as a pit bull. I mean Anthony is a very effective communicator. He understands the way that President Trump talks and communicates with the voters and the citizens of this country. He understands the president's message and what this goal of -- as we try to make America great again. He is bought in and he understands what the mission is and what this White House and this administration is all about.

And so I think for -- since he understands it so well, he is going to be joining, I think, a lot of good folks who are already on board in this communications shop. And going back to what Sara was saying a couple of moments ago, there are a lot of good pieces already in place in this communications shop, and Anthony's going to be adding to that. I think he's someone who's easy to get along with. We've already seen positive comments from whether it's Kelleyanne Conway or Reince Priebus. I think he's going to be someone who integrate very seamlessly with the rest of the team and it's going to be a great addition. This is -- this is going to be -- this is a very good day for the administration.

TAPPER: OK, I've got to interrupt. I'm sorry. Here's -- here's Sara -- here's Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

[14:23:10] SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Slow news day? Quiet crowd.

Good afternoon.

To mark the last day of "Made in America Week," this afternoon the president will welcome several living survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor and their families.

Other events this week have focused mainly on the products and goods bearing that highly esteemed "made in America" label. But truly the most prized thing to have come out of our country have been the brave men and women who have risked their lives protecting the freedom of Americans and our allies around the globe.

And just a few minutes ago, at 2:00, the president signed an executive order that will ensure the men and women of the greatest military in the world have the ships, aircraft, vehicles, and other supplies they will need to keep us safe in the years ahead.

This order commissions the first ever whole government assessment of America's defense industrial base, marking the first time since President Eisenhower that an American president is investing personal attention into the health of the United States defense industrial base. President Trump is committed to maintaining the secure supply chains and robust workforce that will support our nation's heroes for decades to come.

Next week we'll be highlighting American heroes like the World War II veterans, the first responders who keep our communities safe every day, and the boys and girls who will grow up to be the next generation of American leaders.

While I'm on the topic of the men and women who protect us, I also wanted to note that the president commended the House yesterday for voting to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security for the first time. The Homeland Security Authorization Act also authorizes U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the first time.

Secretary Kelly has already made tremendous progress in fulfilling the president's promise to end illegal immigration and fully enforce the laws of the United States. And this bill reflects the president's strong commitment to ensuring that progress continues.

[14:25:05] Also on The Hill, of course, Senate Republicans this week continue to work toward our shared goal of saving the American people from the disaster of Obamacare. Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Pence and Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price hosts representatives from several grassroots organizations calling on the Senate to take action on health care legislation.

As the president has said, inaction is simply not an option. These groups want lawmakers to know that their members want them to follow through on their promise to the American people.

Finally, I'd like to read a statement from the president on the resignation of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. "I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings."

Sean will continue to serve the administration through August, and the president has also appointed Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. And I have a statement on Anthony's appointment as well.

Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this administration. He's been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team. We have accomplished so much and we are being given credit for so little. The good news is, the people get it, even if the media doesn't. And

I'd like to bring Anthony up to say a few words and take a few questions. As always, I'll be back after that to answer any follow-up questions.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you, Sarah. Thank you very much.

So, I'm going to be very brief. I'm going to make my remarks informal and then I'll take questions from everybody.

First off, I'd like to announce, formally, that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to be the press --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't hear.

SCARAMUCCI: Oh, you can't hear me? I'm sorry. Better? Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to be the press secretary. And so you can congratulate her after the session. You still can't hear me? No sound? OK.

Better? Better now? Better now? Better now? I'm going to start over.

You guys heard me in the front, though, right? What'd I say, John? Sarah's going to be the press secretary, right? So, so congratulations to you, Sarah.

And so I want to make a couple of statements. The first thing I want to say is, I want to thank personally Sean Spicer, not only on behalf of myself, the president, the administration, but Sean is a true American patriot. He's a military serviceman. 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.

As it relates to me, in this position, I'm going to spend a couple of weeks getting to know the people here, and I'm going to be as coordinated as I can with the people inside the West Wing.

There's been some speculation in the press about me and Reince, so I just want to talk about that very quickly. Reince and I have been personal friends for six years. We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while, which is totally normal for brothers. There's a lot of people in here that have brothers, and so you get that.

But he's a dear friend. He brought me into the political system. He brought me into the Republican National Committee network. He introduced me to Governor Walker. We've spent many times together socially. A lot of people are not aware about this, but after the Romney campaign, I invited Reince in to Sky Bridge. I think it reflects poorly on Reince that he didn't take my offer to come in and be our chief operating officer. But I say that in jest, obviously.

And so what I want you guys to know is that he was my first call this morning. I met with him before we sat in the Oval Office. And we are committed, as true professionals, to the team and the process of getting the administration's message out. I think that's going to be one of the big goals for us.

I said during the transition, and I'll say it up here, I think there's been, at times, a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way some of you perhaps see the president. And I certainly see the American people probably see the president the way I do. But we want to get that message out there. And to use a Wall Street expression, there might be an arbitrage spread between how well we are doing and how well some of you guys think we're doing and we're going to work hard to close that spread.

And so I'm done. I'll take the question. Yes. I'm going to get to as many people as I can so (INAUDIBLE).

QUESTION: Two questions for you. Number one, what we have seen from this administration so far is the president being his own messenger very frequently, and that has caused, you know, some struggles for the communications staff. How do you expect to get this White House back on track?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I'm going to take a slight issue with the question because I actually think the White House is on track and we're actually, I think, doing a really good job.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE).

[14:29:51] SCARAMUCCI: Well, I actually do think from an (INAUDIBLE) perspective because we have a whole list of things -- and I -- I didn't want to come out here with our list of accomplishments and start a whole advertisement infomercial right now. I really just wanted to talk about personnel movement and how we're thinking about things. But I think we're -- I think we're doing an amazing job. The president --