White House denies reports of a shakeup

White House denies reports of a shakeup
© Getty Images

The White House on Friday denied reports that President Trump is on the verge of shaking up his top staff or firing his top aides, chief strategist Stephen Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus.

“Once again this is a completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success taking place in this administration,” spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said.

“The president’s pick for Supreme Court … was confirmed today, we hosted multiple foreign leaders this week and the president took bold and decisive military action against Syria last night. The only thing we are shaking up is the way Washington operates as we push the president’s aggressive agenda forward.”

Axios reported Friday that Trump is on the verge of replacing Priebus with either economic adviser Gary Cohn, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Blackstone executive Wayne Berman or GOP operative David Urban.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Wall Street Journal followed with a story that said Trump is frustrated by infighting among his staff and could reassign Bannon and Priebus.

Many Trump loyalists have long advocated for Trump to fire Priebus, who they believe was insufficiently loyal over the course of the campaign. Priebus’s job security has been the focus of intense speculation ever since he arrived at the White House, but no report of his imminent demise has ever come to fruition.

Bannon, meanwhile, was once seen as untouchable.

But this week, he was removed from the National Security Council’s principals committee in what was widely viewed as a demotion. White House officials downplayed the move, saying it came at the discretion of new national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

They said Bannon’s role on the principals committee was always meant to be temporary as new leadership was brought into the White House.

“We are not making any staff changes and our team is focused on the President’s agenda, not false palace intrigue stories,” a White House official told The Hill.