Anthony Scaramucci is the shortest-serving White House Communications director in the history of the position, which only came into existence during the Richard Nixon administration. He’s the first Communications Director to hold the position for less than 15 days since Jack Koehler, who resigned after it was discovered he was a member of a Nazi Youth group in Germany.
“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”
Scaramucci, a wealthy Wall Street financier whose only experience in the communications field is a contributor role at Fox News, was hired by President Donald Trump on July 21. That led to the resignations of two key Republican establishment figures in the White House, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Coincidentally, firing Scaramucci was the first action of Priebus’ replacement, Ret. Gen. John F. Kelly.
Scaramucci’s short tenure also ended before he was even officially set to start. He told CNN that his official start date wasn’t until August 15, but he was officially made a White House employee on July 26.
The Office of Communications was established during President Richard Nixon’s tenure. As The New York Times noted in November 1973, the office took on the role of defending Nixon during the Watergate scandal, which led to his resignation in August 1974. The late Herbert G. Klein was the first White House Communications Director, holding the office until July 1, 1973. Klein remains the longest-tenured Communications Director.
Before Scaramucci’s short tenure, Jack Koehler had the shortest tenure in the history of the office. The German-born Associated Press executive served just 11 days, from March 1, 1987 to March 13, 1987. President Ronald Reagan accepted his resignation letter on March 9.
Koehler, who died in September 2012 at age 82, resigned after it was discovered that he was a member of the Nazi youth group Jungvolk when he was 10 years old, according to his Associated Press obituary. Koehler called the group “the Boy Scouts run by the Nazi Party.” However, he insisted that the real reason he resigned was so the new White House Chief of Staff, Senator Howard Baker, could pick a new Communications Director.
Before resigning, Koehler told the United Press International that it would be a “black day in journalism” if his association with Jungvolk as a 10-year-old put him in jeopardy of working in the White House. Koehler said he was only a member of the group for six months and noted that both his first and second wives were Jewish.
The only other Communications Directors to serve less than 90 days all worked for the Trump Administration. When Trump was first inaugurated, Spicer acted in the role until March 6, when Mike Dubke was brought in. Dubke resigned after 88 days. Spicer became Acting Communications Director for the next 49 days, until Scaramucci was hired.
During his administration, President Barack Obama went through five Communications Directors. His first was Ellen Moran, who served 91 days. Moran Resigned so she could become Chief of Staff for Obama’s first Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke. Obama’s longest-serving director was Dan Pheiffer, who served from November 2009 until January 2013.
President George W. Bush had remarkable consistency in his Communications Office. In eight years, he only had four Communications Directors, including Dan Bartlett, who worked for the president from October 2001 until January 2005.
The last president not to have a White House Communications Director for his entire term was President Jimmy Carter. Gerald Rafshoon served from July 1978 to August 1979, but Carter didn’t fill the role when Rafshoon left.