White House press aide resigns amid shakeup
White House press aide Michael Short resigned on Tuesday, capping off hours of drama over whether he would be fired by President Trump’s new communications director.
“I have resigned, effective immediately,” Short said in a brief text message. “It was a privilege to serve the President of the United States.”
The White House said late Friday that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accepted Short’s resignation.
“We are grateful for Michael’s service and wish him well in his future endeavors,” the White House said in a statement.
Short’s departure came after White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told Politico Tuesday morning he planned to fire him over alleged leaks.
The spokesman initially responded that he had not been told of his dismissal.
“No one has told me anything, and the entire premise is false,” he told CNN.
In a bizarre statement to reporters on the West Wing driveway, Scaramucci decried the news of Short’s firing as another leak — even though he revealed the move himself.
“This is the problem with the leaking,” Scaramucci said. “This is actually a terrible thing. Let’s say I’m firing Michael Short today. The fact that you guys know about it before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic.”
The brash former hedge fund manager said he would take an aggressive approach in rooting out leakers.
“I’m going to fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it,” Scaramucci said, adding that he “a thousand percent” has been given the authority from President Trump to do so.
Scaramucci is looking to put his own stamp on the press operation by purging it of staffers loyal to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and outgoing press secretary Sean Spicer.
Short worked closely with both men at the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Priebus and Spicer vehemently opposed the addition of Scaramucci, who has fast become one of the most powerful people in the West Wing. Spicer resigned Friday after his hiring.
“It sure looks like by getting rid of Short today, he’s starting to pick off Reince’s guys,” said one GOP operative close to the White House.
A person close to Short disputed the notion he was responsible for leaks, saying the aide was loyal to the president, Priebus and the entire staff.
The person noted that Short worked with the Trump campaign in New York in 2016 at a time when many other longtime Republican aides were reluctant to and remained on the White House staff even after others left.
Updated at 5:45 p.m.