President Donald Trump has set a major White House shake-up into motion, including bringing back former campaign officials, hiring a crew of outside lawyers to work on the Russia investigation and having his tweets monitored by White House advisors, reported the Wall Street Journal.
With point of focus being personnel changes, let’s take a look back at the White House officials who have been fired or quit under the Trump administration.
Editor's note: The story contains updates.
Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary Of State For Management — Quit January 1
Kennedy’s resignation came just days into the Trump presidency. He’d been angling to keep that job under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, according to the Washington Post.
On the same day, Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Director of the Office of Foreign Missions Gentry O. Smith all resigned as well, leaving nearly the entire State Department senior administrative staff empty.
Sally Yates, United States Deputy Attorney General — Fired January 30
Then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates was fired hours after ordering the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees from seven majority-Muslim nations. The White House described Yates as having “betrayed the Department of Justice.”
Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor — Fired February 14
Michael Flynn was fired after it was revealed that he’d lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the extent of his secret communications with Russian officials. The controversy following centered both around the content of his communication and why Trump waited 18 days to ask for his resignation.
Craig Deare, National Security Council Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs — Fired February 17
Deare was “abruptly dismissed” after the White House learned he had been harshly criticizing Trump and Steven Bannon at a private event held by the Woodrow Wilson Center, reported Politico. In particular, Deare’s concerns were about national security aides lacking access to the president.
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney For The Southern District Of New York — Fired March 11
Trump ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request the resignations of 46 U.S. attorneys, a request Bharara promptly refused. Bharara is known for investigating cases of insider trading and was considered a Wall Street’s “enforcer.” He was fired shortly after he refused to leave his post.
Angella Reid, White House Chief Usher — Fired May 5
Reid’s dismissal may have been one of the most surprising, as chief usher is as far away from a political role as any in the White House. Chief ushers typically stay on through presidencies; there have been only nine since the beginning of the 20th century. Reid had no comment for the Washington Post, which first reported the news, and the White House said they parted on very good terms.
James Comey, Director Of The FBI — Fired May 9
The firing of now-former FBI director James Comey was another shock, and the most controversial. Trump told Russian diplomats that he fired "nut job" Comey to ease the pressure of the mounting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, according to a report from the New York Times.
Michael Dubke, White House Communications Director — Resigned May 18, Effective May 30
Dubke quietly offered his resignation before Trump took his first overseas trip as president — offering to stay on until the end of the trip — which was immediately accepted. There is wide speculation that the former-communications director is the first to leave in a looming set of White House personnel changes.
Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary - Resigned July 21
Sean Spicer resigned in response to Trump’s hiring of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. Spicer was “vehemently” opposed to Scaramucci’s nomination, according to a New York Times report. Trump reportedly asked Spicer to stay on, despite regularly presenting conflicting statements. Spicer had been handling the responsibilities of both press secretary and communications director, but Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been conducting White House press conferences in recent months.
Michael Short, Assistant Press Secretary - Resigned, July 25
Michael Short resigned after Scaramucci named him the first in what will be as many firings as necessary to stop leaks from the White House. Short denied having been involved in any leaks. Initial reports had Short being fired, but Axios’ Jonathan Swan reportedly received a text from Short saying he resigned, perhaps in an effort to beat the White House to the announcement.
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff - Fired July 28
Reince Priebus was fired just days after Scaramucci, who had been a verbal adversary, joined the administration. Trump had been convinced that someone with stronger leadership skills was needed to control a West Wing full of leakers and push his agenda. Trump announced Priebus’ firing and former-general John F. Kelly’s hiring simultaneously via tweet, adding that he was “proud of [Priebus].”
CNN reported that Priebus privately resigned on Thursday.
Anthony Scaramucci, White House Communications Director - Fired July 31
Anthony Scaramucci was fired just 10 days after being hired on, the New York Times reported. During his very brief tenure, Scaramucci threatened to fire every member of the communications department, verbally abused fellow senior White House officials to a New Yorker reporter and inspired a series of memes comparing him to “That Guy” from the TV show Futurama.
Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist - Removed August 18
Following an Axios report that a decision could come soon, the New York Times reported, "Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon...according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion."
New York Times said a person close to Bannon "insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va."
Carl Icahn, Special Advisor - Stepped Down August 18
Billionaire Carl Icahn, who noted he never had a formal position with the administration nor a policymaking role, said in a statment, "Today, with President Trump’s blessing, I ceased to act as special advisor to the President on issues relating to regulatory reform."
Sebastian Gorka, White House Counterterrorism Advisor - Resigned August 25
"Gorka was one of Trump's most prominent cheerleaders, frequently hitting the airwaves to defend the President's policies and public statements," CNN says. "But his role outside of television hits was unclear. He did not play a major policymaking role, according to administration officials, and was not a member of the National Security Council."
Tom Price, Health And Human Services Secretary — Resigned September 29
Tom Price will fly home stripped of his title after fallout over his extravagant spending on taxpayer-funded private plane travel. Trump received Price’s resignation notice after rebuking Price and making uncertain remarks about the future of his job.
“He's a very fine man, but we're going to make a decision sometime tonight,” Trump told reporters outside the White House shortly before Price's resignation, reiterating his displeasure.
In addition, Trump shut down a couple of initiatives on August 16: "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!"
The Manufacturing Council was a group of more than two dozen CEOs tapped by Trump to create recommendations to grow the American manufacturing sector. Eight of the more than two dozen executives left in the wake of Trump's remarks about Charlottesville, Virginia. Separately, The New York Times reported the Strategic & Policy forum was in "disarray."
Omarosa Manigault Newman - Resigned Jan. 20, 2018
The White House says Manigault Newman — one of President Trump's most prominent African-American supporters — plans to leave the administration next month. Manigault Newman is a former contestant on Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice."
Brenda Fitzgerald, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Resigned Jan. 31
Fitzgerald resigned after the "Trump administration’s top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency charged with reducing tobacco use," Politico reported. She took up that position in July 2017.
Hope Hicks, White House Communications Director - Resigned Feb. 28
The New York Times reported Hicks "a former model who joined Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign without any experience in politics, became known as one of the few aides who understood his personality and style and could challenge the president to change his views."
She assumed the role of comms. director in August 2017.
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” President Trump told New York Times in a statement.
Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Adviser - Resigned March 7
"White House officials insisted that there was no single factor behind the departure of Mr. Cohn, who heads the National Economic Council," the New York Times said. "But his decision to leave came as he seemed poised to lose an internal struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports."
Rex Tillerson, Secretary Of State - Fired, March 13
"President Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate negotiations with North Korea," the Washington Post first reported. "Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, and the embattled top diplomat cut short his trip to Africa on Monday to return to Washington."
H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor - Fired, March 23
Trump said in a Tweet, "I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9."
Trump named John Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser. As The New York Times put it, "The move, which was sudden but not unexpected, signals a more confrontational approach in American foreign policy at a time when Mr. Trump faces mounting challenges, including from Iran and North Korea."
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency - Resigned, July 5
"The departure follows months of scrutiny that gathered momentum following reports that Pruitt had rented a Capitol Hill condominium linked to an energy lobbyist on favorable terms," said CNBC. "The revelation exacerbated concerns about the high cost of Pruitt's travel and security detail and triggered a flood of allegations that Pruitt fostered a culture of workplace retaliation, wasteful spending and self-dealing at EPA."
Officials On The Ropes
The following White House officials have all been rumored to have their positions at risk.
- Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
- Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the president and son-in-law to Trump
- Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president
- Donald Trump, President of the United States of America
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