President-elect Donald Trump, after much speculation, has finally named his press secretary. The winner: Republican National Committee chief strategist and communications director Sean Spicer.
Spicer has been working with Trump’s campaign since the upstart Republican candidate won his party’s nomination while also maintaining his role as chief strategist and communications director at the Republican National Committee. He has also been heavily involved with the transition process as senior communications adviser to the presidential transition team.
Spicer was batted around as a possible press secretary by many news outlets, alongside Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, and campaign communications adviser Jason Miller.
After being tapped as White House communications director, Miller backed out of his position only two days later amid allegations he had an affair with another transition official. Spicer will now take over Miller's duties as communications director.
Here are seven things to know about the next man behind the podium in the White House briefing room.
He has served in an administration before
Spicer spent more than two years as part of President George W. Bush’s administration as assistant U.S. trade representative for media and public affairs. In this role, he communicated on behalf of the administration on trade issues and worked with members of the cabinet. He also travelled more than 440,000 miles for the job, according to his LinkedIn.
He is a media maven—and often a harsh critic
Over the course of his career, Spicer has worked in communications in two branches of government, from two communications positions in the House of Representatives to his role in the Bush administration. As part of his job at the RNC, he organized presidential debates with news networks and the 2016 Republican National Convention, which gathered more than 15,000 journalists in Cleveland.
Spicer is often critical of the media, much like his new boss. He tweets regularly about flaws in news articles, most often about The New York Times and Politico. One editor told The Washington Post in August, "Sean Spicer…is a curse word in our house."
Another example of false, reprehensible, pathetic, tabloid faux journalism. https://t.co/0Oy3JnbJ74— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) December 14, 2016
He once started a public affairs firm
In 2009, after leaving his role with the Bush administration, Spicer cofounded Endeavour Global Strategies with Gretchen Hamel, the former deputy assistant U.S. Trade Representative for public and media affairs, and Nathan Imperiale, a founder of digital communications firm NJI Media Group. He stayed with the firm about five months before enrolling in a master’s program, according to LinkedIn.
He reintroduced the RNC’s "comms college"
Spicer restarted the "comms college," a bootcamp for RNC communications staffers, according to GOP.com. After the 2012 election, won in part by President Barack Obama’s digital-heavy campaign strategy, Spicer and outgoing RNC chair Reince Priebus overhauled communications efforts. The college has courses on effective digital and social media use, media training, and more that got the staff up-to-speed with new methods of campaigning. Coincidentally or not, Trump’s campaign also relied heavily on social media as a main method of communicating with both the public and the media.
He is a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves
Spicer joined the U.S. Navy Reserves in 1999. He currently holds the rank of commander. In 2009, Spicer took a break from his career and went back to school at the Naval War College to earn his master’s in national security and strategic studies.
He is a wicked huge Boston sports fan
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Spicer is naturally a fan of the local teams, the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. Good luck arguing with him about either on social media.
He watches My Little Pony (with his children)
In a questionnaire for PRWeek’s 2016 Global Power Book, Spicer said the most influential TV programs in his life are My Little Pony and Transformers: Rescue Bots, noting he watches the shows with his two children. Spicer cited My Little Pony while commenting on CNN about the similarities between convention speeches by Melania Trump and Michelle Obama this July, quoting a line by the character Twilight Sparkle that was similar to a line in Trump’s speech.
This story was updated on December 27 to reflect recent news that Jason Miller will no longer serve as White House communications director.