Sean Spicer’s stint as press secretary was ridiculously short

For months people have been wondering how much time Spicer had left as press secretary. Here’s how long others have lasted in that job.

Well, that was quick.

After just 182 days on the job, Sean Spicer has resigned has Donald Trump’s press secretary. Rumours have swirled for months that Spicer was on the way out, despite reassurances from Trump that his job was safe.

READ MORE: Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary

Spicer’s brief tenure is unprecedented in the history of White House press secretaries. It’s a gruelling job, but only in very specific circumstances have past press secretaries stepped down or been let go after only this many days on the job.

That’s clear from this chart, which compares Spicer’s time on the job to the five shortest stints as press secretary, and the tenure of the first press secretary for each of Trump’s three predecessors.

Spicer chart

(Source: Wikipedia)

Here are the five shortest press secretary runs, and why they left the job:

• Jerald terHorst lasted just 31 days under Gerald Ford, quitting when Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for any crimes he committed as president.

• Jonathan Daniels was on the job for 47 days, serving when Franklin Roosevelt died in office and staying on shortly thereafter for the transition to Harry Truman.

• James Brady was shot in an assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan just 69 days into Reagan’s first term.

• Jake Siewart’s job was over after 112 days when Bill Clinton’s second term ended.

• Roger Tubby’s job, likewise, came to an end along with the end of Truman’s second term, after 124 days.

If we wanted, we could add Clinton’s first communications director George Stephanopoulos to the mix—Stephanopoulos regularly, and evasively, handled press briefings even though he wasn’t the official press secretary. He was pulled from the podium after 138 days to make way for Clinton’s first actual press secretary, Dee Dee Myers.

Spicer, of course, didn’t come close to surviving as long on the job as Myers, who served for 702 days. Likewise, President Barack Obama’s first spokesman, Robert Gibbs, lasted 753 days, while George W. Bush’s first press secretary, Ari Fleischer, stayed put for 902 days.

The record for longest-serving press secretary? That title is held by Stephen Early, Roosevelt’s first spokesman, and is now legally impossible to break—Early fielded press questions for nearly all of Roosevelt’s three terms, or 4,400 days.


Editor’s note: This post was updated on July 21 after Sean Spicer resigned from his position as press secretary.

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