Ten notable departures from Team Trump

Ten notable departures from Team Trump
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President Trump is known for firing people. "You’re fired!" was his personal catch phrase during his reign as the star of "The Apprentice." 

During his tumultuous presidential campaign, he dismissed a handful of advisers and two campaign managers. 

Since taking office, the pattern has continued with a string of departures that have roiled Pennsylvania Avenue.


Here’s a look at 10 of Trump’s most notable firings.

Michael Flynn, national security adviser

Feb. 13

Flynn did not last a month into the administration.

The former intelligence officer was forced to resign after stepping into the role amid revelations that he misled Vice President Pence and other administration officials about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

He has remained in the news as one of the central figures in the federal investigation into Trump’s campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

But Trump has spoken fondly of Flynn, even after his ouster, saying in private that he had “served the country well” and complaining that he has been treated unfairly by the news media. The White House waited 18 days to dismiss Flynn after finding out about the discrepancy between Flynn’s account and the true nature of his calls with Kislyak.

Flynn remains a key figure in the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which is led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Katie Walsh, deputy chief of staff

March 30

Walsh left for an outside pro-Trump group, America First Policies, after the Trump-backed healthcare reform bill failed to muster enough support to pass the House.

Then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other officials insisted that the former Republican National Committee (RNC) chief of staff left of her own accord.

FBI Director James Comey

May 9

One of the most shocking moments of Trump’s presidency was his firing of Comey, a major character in the 2016 presidential campaign who was a thorn in the president’s side.

The FBI director found out he had been fired from cable news, while delivering a speech to bureau employees on the other side of the country.

Trump did not call Comey to deliver the news, which incensed bureau employees.

The firing was also controversial because Trump stated that he removed Comey due to his dissatisfaction with the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election.

Although the official White House statement pinned it on Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Claiming 'spousal privilege' to stonewall Congress MORE’s use of a private email server while secretary of State, the president later acknowledged the FBI probe was on his mind.

“When I decided [to fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, 'You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,’ ” Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt.

Critics have suggested that the dismissal was an effort by the president to bury the Russia investigation.

Michael Dubke, communications director

May 18

A former Republican strategist with deep ties to party establishment figures, Dubke resigned after three months on the job.

The common consensus in Washington was that the longtime operative struggled to build relationships with senior White House staff and handle the fallout from the president’s off-message tweets — in short, that he had “an impossible job.”

“It was 100 percent his idea [to resign],” a GOP strategist close to Dubke told The Hill at the time. “I would imagine anyone in the communications field would be frustrated working in this White House.”

Sean Spicer, press secretary

July 21

Spicer — whose combative daily press briefings were famously parodied on “Saturday Night Live” by Melissa McCarthy — marked the first major protest resignation from the Trump administration.

He handed in his notice after Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci to replace Dubke, telling the president the addition of “the Mooch” was a major mistake, according to The New York Times. Trump reportedly urged Spicer to stay but was rebuffed.

Michael Short, press aide

July 25

Short’s resignation was a casualty of the turbulent 10-day Scaramucci era.

The former RNC staffer stepped down after Scaramucci told Politico that he planned to fire him over alleged leaks — a move that some GOP operatives interpreted as a thinly veiled attempt to get rid of staff members loyal to Priebus.

Short initially responded that he had not been told of his dismissal, telling CNN, “No one has told me anything, and the entire premise is false.”

In a bizarre statement to reporters on the West Wing driveway, Scaramucci condemned the news of Short’s firing as another leak — even though he revealed the move himself.

Short stepped down later that day.

Reince Priebus, chief of staff

July 28

Priebus’s firing was rumored for months as he presided over a notoriously leaky White House and was criticized by Trump allies and outsiders as a weak chief of staff who was unable to act as a gatekeeper for the president.

Hired in part because of his ties to top lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care Trump urges Dems to help craft new immigration laws: ‘Chuck & Nancy, call me!' Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE (R-Wis.), the former RNC chairman lost his job the day after Trump’s ObamaCare repeal effort collapsed in the Senate.

The president was famously derisive of Priebus, reportedly calling him “Reincey” and fueling months of speculation that his tenure was destined to be short-lived.

His departure has led to additional staff moves, with Priebus loyalists from the RNC following him out the door.

Anthony Scaramucci, communications director

July 31

Scaramucci lasted just 10 days in the White House, but what a 10 days it was.

Spicer and Priebus were ushered out the door during his short reign, and on the eve of the dramatic healthcare vote in the Senate, The New Yorker published his profane rant to a reporter in which he warned of purging leakers and took pointed aim at Priebus and White House strategist Stephen Bannon.

Although the White House officially cast the move as his decision, the departure of the Mooch was widely seen as new chief of staff John Kelly flexing his muscle. The announcement came on his first day on the job. 

Stephen Bannon, senior strategist

Aug. 18

Bannon’s departure marked the clearest signal yet of a new era in the White House under Kelly. 

The former Breitbart leader is widely credited with supercharging Trump’s flagging campaign in the final weeks of the 2016 race and had previously been seen as untouchable.

A White House statement said that Kelly and Bannon had “mutually agreed” on his exit date.

Bannon was one of the core architects of Trump’s temporary travel ban — including its botched rollout. He is known for a worldview that he has termed “economic nationalism” and drew heat from critics when he briefly took a seat on the principal’s committee on the National Security Council.

He has also returned to Breitbart.

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president

Aug. 25

It’s unclear whether the former counterterrorism adviser resigned, as he claims, or if he was fired by Kelly. The White House put out a cryptic unattributed statement Friday saying that Gorka did not resign — but he was no longer working at the White House.

Long one of the most controversial members in Trump's orbit, Gorka was known for his hard-line views on terrorism and his confrontational television appearances that incensed critics but reportedly pleased the president. Onlookers speculate that he was ousted as part of a Kelly house-cleaning operation targeted at removing some of the more extreme elements in the White House.

Gorka is headed back to Breitbart News, where he previously worked as a national security editor.