June 19, 2017 / 8:53 PM / a month ago

White House discussing moving Spicer to new communications role: official

3 Min Read

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer looks at a photographer during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 12, 2017.Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is considering shifting press secretary Sean Spicer away from the daily spokesman job and into a new communications role but no such move is believed imminent, a senior White House official said on Monday.

Spicer has been a frequent target of criticism for his performance at the White House lectern during daily news briefings, although President Donald Trump has stood by him through a variety of controversies.

Spicer, who was the Republican National Committee's senior strategist during the presidential campaign last year, is currently doing double duty as press secretary and communications director after the previous communications director, Michael Dubke, resigned May 30.

The senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said discussions about some changes in the communications department have been going on for some time.

"I don't think anything is imminent," the official said. "No decisions have been made. There is nothing definitive."

Trump has privately vented to aides on occasion about the communications team and the need to have more people defending him on television.

The White House has been looking at ways to improve on this front.

"We have sought input from many people as we look to expand our communications operation. As he did in the beginning, Sean Spicer is managing both the communications and press office," said White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Spicer has been doing fewer briefings and not as many of them before the TV cameras in recent weeks as he and his team have adjusted to Trump's tendency to be his own spokesman through his tweets and public comments.

He and his team have also stopped commenting on a special counsel's investigation into Russian meddling into last year's presidential election.

On Monday, Spicer conducted an off-camera session with reporters.

Sanders has been Spicer's stand-in at the lectern on several occasions and would likely be considered a potential successor to Spicer.

But Trump has also been intrigued in the past by the possibility of hiring conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham as his press secretary.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Tom Brown

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