White House denies report that they’re interviewing for press secretary position

White House denies report that they’re interviewing for press secretary position
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivers a statement in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on January 21, 2017. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House is stomping on speculation that Sean Spicer’s time might be done as Press Secretary after a report was published saying the administration interviewed for the role on Thursday.

The Washingtonian reported Friday that Carl Higbie was being interviewed for the position, and spoke to him about it.

“Well, I can say that I’ve offered my services,” Higbie confirms for Washingtonian when reached by phone. “I haven’t heard back from the administration yet. I’m honored to be even considered for this.” Higbie says he has spoken with “a number of people” in interview rounds for the post.

Higbie declined to confirm the claim that he had been interviewed for the position on Thursday.

CNN reporter Dylan Byers says a White House spokesperson told him the story was completely false, adding that Higbie “hasn’t interviewed for anything. He spoke to a few people to say he’d like to help. That’s it.”

Here’s Higbie’s background, from the Washingtonion:

Higbie, a former Navy SEAL, is close with the Trump family, particularly Eric Trump, whom he met in the green room after appearing on the Kelly File last year. He was one of the first official surrogates for the president on the campaign trail. He was also spokesman for the Great America PAC, which purported to earmark donations “from the grassroots” for the Trump campaign.

Higbie recently got into a heated debate on Twitter with Meghan McCain after he criticized Senator John McCain, her father, for slamming Trump for the Yemen raid many say was a failure.

Higbie had called McCain “dishonorable” for his comments on the Yemen raid where one U.S. military member died, the first under Trump’s term.

There was also a report Monday that Trump was upset at the characterization of Spicer on Saturday Night Live, fueling the speculation that he might be let go soon.

More than being lampooned as a press secretary who makes up facts, it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that was most problematic in the president’s eyes, according to sources close to him. And the unflattering sendup by a female comedian was not considered helpful for Spicer’s longevity in the grueling, high-profile job, where he has struggled to strike the right balance between representing an administration that considers the media the “opposition party,” and developing a functional relationship with the press.

“Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” added a top Trump donor.

Meanwhile, Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway is also reported to have displeased Trump when she gave a “free commercial” for Ivanka’s clothing line, something widely considered illegal for a White House to do.

142 Comments