Saturday 25 May 2019

'You're fired': The list of high-profile departures from the Trump administration

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Chris Graham

IT WAS a catchphrase from his days as host of ‘The Apprentice’ and now in the White House, Donald Trump has shown he’s still happy to tell someone: “You’re fired.”

Here’s a partial list of officials, excluding Rex Tillerson, who have been sacked or have left the administration since Mr Trump took office on January 20, 2017.

James Comey

The FBI director had been leading an investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign’s possible collusion with Russia to influence the election outcome when he was fired in May.

James Comey. Photo: AP

Arguably the most controversial dismissal, Mr Comey’s firing sent shock waves through Washington. The White House narrative about how and why Mr Trump dismissed the FBI director changed frequently.

Sally Yates

The acting US attorney general was fired in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to enforce Mr Trump’s controversial immigration ban.

Sally Yates. Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images

The president accused Ms Yates of having “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States”.

Reince Priebus

The former chairman of the Republican National Committee resigned as chief of staff at the end of July amid an internal power struggle involving director of communication Anthony Scaramucci.

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Top job: Reince Priebus (REUTERS/Joe Skipper)

The departure came shortly after Mr Scaramucci delivered a foul-mouthed tirade to a journalist about Mr Priebus, accusing him of leaking to the media. Mr Priebus was replaced by John Kelly. A confidant of the president said Mr Trump had lost confidence in Mr Priebus after major legislative items failed to pass the US Congress.

Sean Spicer

The White House press secretary, who was an experienced Republican operative, resigned on July 21, ending a turbulent tenure after Mr Trump named Mr Scaramucci as White House communications director. Mr Spicer had reportedly told friends that if Mr Scaramucci, a Wall Street trader with no Republican Party credentials and no experience in handling media relations, was appointed then he would resign.

Sean Spicer

The 45-year-old had become perhaps the most recognisable face of Mr Trump’s administration – in part due to the savage mockery at the hands of Melissa McCarthy, who parodied him to devastating effect each week on US TV’s ‘Saturday Night Live’.

Michael Short

The senior White House assistant press secretary was Mr Scaramucci’s second victim. He resigned days after Mr Spicer left and shortly after Mr Scaramucci said he planned to get rid of him.

His ousting was seen as a warning from Mr Scaramucci to staffers perceived as leakers and to a communications department seen as loyal to Mr Priebus. Mr Short insisted he had not been involved in any leaks. “Allegations I ever leaked anything are demonstrably false,” he said.

Anthony Scaramucci

Fired as communications director after just 11 days – and just hours after former General John Kelly took over as Trump’s new chief of staff.

Hoping to turn the page on a tumultuous opening chapter to his presidency, Mr Trump insisted there was “no chaos” in his White House as he swore in the retired Marine general as his second chief of staff.

Anthony Scaramucci. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Mr Scaramucci, who had shocked many with a profane outburst against then-chief of staff Priebus, was gone not long after. The White House said he was leaving because he “felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.”

Steve Bannon

Combative and unapologetic, he was fired as chief strategist on August 18. Known for far-right political views, he was a force behind some of Trump’s most contentious policies, including a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, and fought with more moderate factions inside a White House riven with rivalries.

His departure came at a time when the president was increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia town of Charlottesville.

Steve Bannon

As Mr Trump came under fire from fellow Republicans, business leaders and allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Mr Bannon’s dismissal.

The former Goldman Sachs financier was employed by Mr Trump as his campaign manager in August 2016, and described at the time as “the most dangerous political operative in America”.

He urged Mr Trump to pursue a populist path, and pressed him to hammer Hillary Clinton as corrupt – reportedly coming up with the “lock her up” chant at rallies.

Tom Price

The health secretary, a key ally of the president charged with helping to repeal Obamacare, offered his resignation in September 2017 as the controversy over his travel arrangements showed no signs of abating.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

Pressure had grown on Mr Price’s over his decision to spend at least $400,000 (€323,000) hiring private and military jets for himself and his staff.

Omarosa Manigault

The former ‘Apprentice’ contestant, who was one of Mr Trump’s most senior African-American aides, resigned last December amid reports of a blazing row with Mr Kelly at a Christmas party.

Omarosa Manigault Newman

She said she saw things while working for the president that made her “very uncomfortable” and “unhappy”. She did not deny claims she was concerned by Mr Trump’s stance on Charlottesville, where a woman died in clashes with white supremacists, and Roy Moore, the controversial Alabama senate candidate.

Hope Hicks

The White House communications director and one of Mr Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, abruptly announced her resignation in March, leaving a void around a president who values loyalty and affirmation.

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White House Communications Director Hope Hicks. Photo: AP /J. Scott Applewhite

It left the president increasingly without the support of familiar aides who surrounded him during his campaign, and marked the latest in a string of high-level departures in the administration’s second year. She was the fourth person to occupy the position since the president was sworn in, as the Trump White House has set modern records for staff turnover.

Gary Cohn

The top economic adviser announced he was leaving on March 6, after breaking with Mr Trump on trade policy. Mr Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, had been the leading internal opponent to Mr Trump’s planned tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium, working to orchestrate an 11th-hour effort in recent days to get Mr Trump to reverse course. The president resisted those efforts.

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Leaving the White House: economic adviser Gary Cohn. Photo: AP

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