Donald Trump's Press Secretaries

List and Bios of Every Spokesman for the 45th President

Donald Trump's press secretary is Sean Spicer, a former communications director and chief strategist for the Republican National Committee. The 45th president named Spicer to the position on Dec. 22, 2016, about a month before taking the Oath of Office.

Spicer, the longest-serving spokesman for the RNC and described as an "old hand" inside the Washington Beltway, is frequently critical of the mainstream media's coverage of Trump and politics in general. "The default narrative is always negative. And that's demoralizing," Spicer said at the outset of his tenure as Trump's press secretary.

The function of the White House press secretary is to serve as a liaison between the president and the new media. Spicer is primarily responsible for dealing with news reporters in the Trump White House. He is Trump's first press secretary, and he is not likely to be the the only press secretary. The job is a demanding one, and most presidents go through several during their tenure in the White House. Trump's predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, had three press secretaries during his two terms in office, for example.

Sean Spicer

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer calls on a reporter during a briefing in 2017. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Spicer is a seasoned political operative whose work with the Republican Party often placed him in the limelight even before his position in the Trump White House. He has also not been on the same side as Trump on some key issues, but has since pledged his allegiance to the wealthy businessman.

In an interview with his hometown television station, WPRI, Spicer described Trump as “caring and gracious” and said one of his goals as press secretary is to present that side of the president to Americans. Of Trump's use of Twitter to communicate with citizens, Spicer said: “He does communicate in a much bigger way than ever’s been done before, and I think that’s going to be a really exciting part of the job."

Spicer's mother told the Providence Journal newspaper in Rhode Island that her son was hooked on politics at a young age. "The seed was planted his senior year in high school. All of a sudden he was hooked," she said.

Earlier Jobs

  • February 2011 through 2016: Communications director for the Republican National Committee. Spicer also served as the party's chief strategist; he was the primary negotiator in discussions over the primary debate format in 2016.
  • July 2006 through January 2009: assistant U.S. trade representative for media and public affairs under President George W. Bush.
  • May 2005 to July of 2006: Communications director for the House Republican Conference. In that role, he oversaw media training for members of the House and their press secretaries. 
  • January 2003 to May 2005: Communications director for the House Budget Committee.
  • 2000: Director of incumbent retention for the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2000 election. In that role, he oversaw the re-election campaigns of 220 members of the House.

Controversies

Spicer got off to a rocky start with the White House press corps when he falsely claimed Trump drew "the largest audience to witness an inauguration." Spicer claimed photographs showing Obama's 2008 inauguration appeared to draw more people were doctored to humiliate Trump. "Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall," Spicer said at a White House press briefing. 

Spicer added that his intention was to never lie to the press.

Criticism of Trump

Before Trump chose him for press secretary, Spicer criticized the candidate over his criticism of Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain. Trump claimed in July 2015 that McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was "not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Spicer, speaking on behalf of the Republican National Committee, directly responded to Trump's comments: "Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.” 

Spicer also criticized Trump's comments that the U.S. had become a "dumping ground" for Mexico's worst criminals. Said Trump: "When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Spicer, speaking for the Republican Party, said: “I mean, as far as painting Mexican Americans with that kind of a brush, I think that’s probably something that is not helpful to the cause.”

Personal Life

Spicer is a native of Barrington, Rhode Island.

He is the son of Kathryn and Michael W. Spicer. His mother is the manager of the East Asian Studies department at Brown University, according to the university's website. His father, Michael W. Spicer, died in December 2016. He worked in the insurance industry. 

Spicer graduated from Portsmouth Abbey School and Connecticut College in 1993 from with a bachelor's degree in government. He earned a master's degree from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. At the time of his appointment, Spicer was a Navy commander with 17 years experience in the reserves, according to the Military Times.

He is married and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Other Spokespeople

Kellyanne Conway is a senior Trump adviser
Kellyanne Conway is a senior Trump adviser who also serves as a spokeswoman. Getty Images

Though Spicer is Trump's press secretary, several other key aides serve as spokespeople for the president. They include Kellyanne Conway, who served as Trump's campaign manager and became a senior adviser to the president after he took office. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also speaks on behalf of the president in his role as a top adviser.