White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned his post on Thursday, in the midst of controversy with incoming Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. Homeland Security Director and four-star Marine general John Kelly has been slated to take his place.
White House press secretary Sara Huckabee told reporters that Trump and Priebus, and separately Trump and Kelly, have been talking about his exit for the last two weeks.
Priebus had been selected because of his ability to influence Congressional leaders, connections made while Priebus was head of the Republican National Committee. Priebus helped propel Trump to victory in the election last year, launching its data program as leading the ground teams in several key states.
Critics have accused Priebus of being “weak” and of not controlling Trump’s agenda sufficiently. These criticism have gotten steadily louder in recent weeks. Anthony Scaramucci shortly after his appointment let loose a tirade against Priebus, saying to a New Yorker reporter “Reince is a f—ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac” He further indicated that Priebus might indeed be part of the leaks that have come from the White House recently. The timing has made this one of Trump’s worst weeks, as the Obamacare Repeal and Replace bill has stalled in the Senate.
Priebus offered kind words on his exit. “I’m always going to be a Trump fan, I’m on Team Trump,” Priebus told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “I think the president wanted to go a different direction. I support him in that.”
Author’s note: We don’t generally report on White House gossip, most of the time reporters don’t get this right anyway. But the appointment of Scaramucci despite some known issues was an indicator that change was in progress. Priebus’ stint at the RNC gave him deep political experience and connections, but it appears Trump is more comfortable with people whose command experience is proven. Kelly and Scaramucci both fit that bill, Kelly in the marines, and Scaramucci in business.
Priebus’ stint at the RNC gave him deep political experience and connections, but it appears Trump is more comfortable with people whose command experience is proven. Kelly and Scaramucci both fit that bill, Kelly in the marines, and Scaramucci in business.
Another point, while we do not believe Priebus was leaking information to the press, he has no expertise in ferreting out whoever it was. Kelly, as a Marine Corp general, will have that expertise.