Sean Spicer
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is photographed in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., June 5, 2017. Getty Images/AFP/Nicholas Kamm

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is the leading contender to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Irish Central reported Wednesday, citing sources. This comes after Brian Burns, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the post, withdrew his name from consideration, according to reports.

Burns, an Irish-American based in Florida’s Palm Beach, reportedly told Trump he would not be able to serve as ambassador to Ireland due to ill health.

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In a statement released to Irish broadcaster RTÉ News, Burns’ representative said he suffered "a bad fall a few weeks ago" and was preparing to have "a second back surgery in the lumbar area of his spine." He is expected to make full recovery by the end of the summer. He reportedly thanked Trump for the "great honor of being considered to be U.S. Ambassador to his beloved Ireland." The president acknowledged Burns’ decision and thanked him for his support, according to RTÉ News.

In February, the New York Times reported Trump intended Burns to be the ambassador. However, his nomination was never officially announced.

On Wednesday, sources told Irish Central that Spicer was leading the race to become the next ambassador to the U.S. The White House press secretary has Irish roots — his great-grandfather reportedly emigrated to the U.S. from Cork, Ireland in the late 1800s. Spicer has not shied away from showing off his Irish heritage. In March, he got into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day by wearing a green tie during a daily press briefing.

Like other members in Trump administration, Spicer had his share of criticism since he became the press secretary. In March, he pulled up a reporter for asking about Russian ties to Trump and his administration.

“I've said it from the day that I got here until whenever that there's not a connection. ... If the president puts Russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a Russian connection,” Spicer told the reporter at the time. “I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head."

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In May, the Times reported Trump was considering replacing Spicer with Fox New host Kimberly Guilfoyle as the White House press secretary. The president decided to make changes to his communication team over his dissatisfaction with several top appointees that included Spicer. However, neither Trump nor Spicer commented on the report.

Meanwhile, other likely candidates to become the U.S. ambassador to Ireland are Nexsmax Media CEO, Christopher Ruddy, Long Island congressman Peter King, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, and actress Roma Downey, who is married to Trump confidante Mark Brunett, Irish Central reported.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Ireland said it was aware of reports speculating Trump’s nominee for the ambassador post, the Irish Times reported.

“However, at this time, there has not yet been an official nomination by the White House. Once the U.S. president nominates an ambassador, the United States Senate must confirm the appointment. Until that process is complete, Chargé d’Affaires Reece Smyth will continue to lead the US Embassy in Dublin as it works with the Irish Government, as well as Irish and American citizens on a broad range of issues,” the spokesman reportedly said.