Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix | Analysis

4 men have done 5 stints as Trump's communications director that lasted an average of 44 days

By Callum Borchers

July 31, 2017 at 5:00 PM

On Dec. 22, President-elect Donald Trump picked Jason Miller to be his White House communications director. Miller resigned on Christmas Eve.

Sean Spicer, already set to become White House press secretary, agreed to pull double duty until a replacement could be found.

On Feb. 17, President Trump announced the hiring of Mike Dubke as communications director. Dubke quit three months later.

Again, Spicer took over on an interim basis.

On July 21, Trump installed Anthony Scaramucci. On Monday, just 10 days later, the president ousted his new hire.

Four men. Five stints. An average of 44 days. Life as a Trump spokesman is hard and often short.

Scaramucci, a loquacious businessman, is the stylistic opposite of Dubke, a veteran political hand who preferred to direct messaging from behind the scenes. Neither approach worked out.

Ousted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Trump spokesmen who hold other titles often struggle, too. Spicer resigned his post as press secretary on the day that Scaramucci became communications director, making his run as presidential frontman one of the shortest in history.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump's original campaign manager and a top TV surrogate, was fired after a year. His replacement, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, lasted just two months.

Manafort' successor, Kellyanne Conway, remains a Trump adviser but has had ups and downs as a spokeswoman. She was reportedly benched from TV for a week in February, though she denied that her absence was related to appearances that attracted negative attention.

Katrina Pierson, who was Trump's principal spokeswoman in the final year of the campaign, turned down an offer to join the White House communications team.

There are exceptions to the rule. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump's new press secretary, has shown uncommon endurance; she joined Trump's staff 17 months ago and has survived changes all around her. And Hope Hicks, who does not speak publicly for the president but handles media inquiries, has been a top communications aide since Trump launched his campaign more than two years ago.

Of course, Trump's all-time favorite "spokesmen" predated his run for president: John Barron and John Miller were the fake names he sometimes assumed to pose as his own publicist in phone interviews.

Callum Borchers covers the intersection of politics and media.

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