Wednesday 20 November 2019

White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci removed from post

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump pushed back against criticism of his administration on Twitter (Alex Brandon/AP)

Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from his post as White House communications director after just 11 days on the job - and just hours after President Donald Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, was sworn into office.

Hoping to turn the page on a tumultuous opening chapter to his presidency, President Trump had insisted earlier on Monday that there was "no chaos" in his White House as he swore in the retired Marine general as second chief of staff.

Not long after, Mr Scaramucci, who shocked many with his profane outburst last week against then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, was gone.

In the words of the White House announcement, 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".

The two-sentence press release concluded: "We wish him all the best."

Earlier, in an Oval Office ceremony, President Trump predicted Mr Kelly, who previously served as Homeland Security chief, would do a "spectacular job".

And the president chose to highlight the rising stock market and positive jobs outlook rather than talk about how things might need to change in his White House under Mr Kelly.

President Trump on Friday removed Priebus as chief of staff and turned to Mr Kelly, who he hopes will bring military discipline to an administration weighed down by a stalled legislative agenda, infighting among West Wing aides and a stack of investigations.

The re-shuffling continued on Monday with word that Mr Scaramucci, on the job from less than two weeks, will no longer serve in the White House's top communications post.

President Trump on Monday convened his first Cabinet meeting with Mr Kelly at his side, telling his team it is "doing incredibly well" and "starting from a really good base".

On how he would deal with rising tensions with North Korea, President Trump said only: "It will be handled."

Seated across from Mr Trump was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has stayed on the job while the president has publicly savaged him in interviews and on social media.

Mr Kelly's success in a chaotic White House will depend on how much authority he is granted and whether President Trump's duelling aides will put aside their rivalries to work together.

Also unclear is whether a new chief of staff will have any influence over the president's social media histrionics.


Mr Scaramucci was removed from his post because the president felt his recent remarks to The New Yorker were "inappropriate", said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

She made clear that Mr Scaramucci will not have a position in the administration.

"What matters most to us is not who is employed at the White House but who is employed in the rest of the country," she said.

Ms Sanders also stressed that Mr Kelly will have "full authority" to bring structure and discipline to the White House.

All West Wing staff will report to him, she said.


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