Trump taps RNC's Spicer for White House spokesman

WASHINGTON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer will serve as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's press secretary in the White House when he takes office next month, Trump announced on Thursday.

To round out his communications team, the president-elect appointed loyalists from his upstart presidential campaign. Hope Hicks, Trump's sole spokeswoman when he began what was considered a longshot candidacy in June 2015, will be director of strategic communications.

Jason Miller was appointed director of communications and Dan Scavino was named director of social media.

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

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Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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Spicer, 45, served as RNC spokesman during Trump's presidential campaign, alongside party chairman Reince Priebus, who stood by Trump amid furious opposition from establishment Republicans and was rewarded with the chief of staff position.

Acerbic and professional, Spicer, a Navy Reserve commander, has been openly critical of media coverage of Republican candidates and the president-elect, but insists the future U.S. leader has a high regard for press freedom.

"We understand and respect the role that the press plays in a democracy. It is healthy, it's important. But it's a two-way street," Spicer told Politico recently, before bashing the news outlet for what he said was exclusively negative coverage.

Spicer, who has been a spokesman for the Trump transition team, has a long background in public affairs.

He led a turnaround in the RNC's public affairs operation after taking over as communications director in 2011. He beefed up social media operations, built an in-house TV production team and created a rapid response effort to reply to attacks.

Spicer worked in President George W. Bush's administration as the assistant U.S. Trade Representative for media and public affairs. Before that, he was communications director for the Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Spicer has tried to reassure news organizations that Trump will not try to ban them from covering him, as the president-elect sometimes sought to do during the election campaign.

But Spicer and other Trump aides have indicated the new president would shake up the status quo in White House dealings with the media, including re-examining the need for daily televised news briefings and the practice of assigned seating in the briefing room.

"I think we have to look at everything," Spicer told Fox News when asked about the briefings. "And so I don't know that it needs to be daily. I don't know that they all need to be on camera."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)

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