President Donald Trump is considering a large reorganization plan for his communications team, including replacing Press Secretary Sean Spicer and reaching out to cable TV surrogates about joining his staff, according to several officials from the administration.
The changes are being considered, reports The Wall Street Journal, following the controversy around his surprise firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the mixed messages that came out in the days after.
Spicer was away for two days while serving on Naval Reserve duty, leaving Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to conduct daily press briefings and appear on television programs to explain and defend Trump's decision to fire Comey.
She and other Trump surrogates, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, initially explained the decision as coming after Trump got a memo about Comey from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. On Thursday, however, Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt that he had already decided to fire Comey, regardless of what Rosenstein's report would have said.
Trump Friday tweeted a defense for his surrogates, saying it is "not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy," as he is a "very active President with lots of things happening."
However, he backed that up by saying it might be best to cancel all future press briefings and hand out "written responses for the sake of accuracy. In addition, he told Fox News' Jeanine Pirro, in an interview airing Saturday, he is considering canceling press briefings and instead offering his own briefing every two weeks.
Trump also declined to answer a question about if Spicer would be kept in his post, but did call him a "wonderful human being."
Trump's use of Twitter is also leaving his press team scrambling, including his tweet that fired FBI Director James Comey "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
During his return to the press briefings on Friday, taking place shortly after Trump tweeted his message to Comey, Spicer would not confirm if there are tapes, and denied the tweet constituted a threat.
An ally of Spicer's told The Wall Street Journal he knows "this hasn't been a good week for him," referencing the press secretary's off-camera interview near some bushes on the White House North Lawn after news broke about Comey's firing.
Spicer on Friday, said in defense of his briefings that he and his team are working long hours, "first thing in the morning until late at night" to ensure their accuracy. However, he said that sometimes his team does not "get an opportunity to see [Trump], to get his full thinking."
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