If there's one thing we've learned about Trump since his inauguration, it's this: the man values loyalty above rank.
When President Trump was inside the Sala del Tronetto awaiting his meeting with Pope Francis, he stood next to his wife Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner. Yet there was one expected face who wasn't present: press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer, "who was eagerly anticipating the meeting with Pope Francis," was told there was no room for him, according to CNN. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster were also in attendance, as expected. But other faces, like communications adviser Hope Hicks, former bodyguard and deputy assistant Keith Schiller and social media director Dan Scavino, were gate-crashing attendees of the papal visit.
On a foreign trip told primarily in images, the staff dynamics of Trump's White House have been on full view, from the lavish welcome in Saudi Arabia to the exclusive audience Wednesday with Pope Francis.Also absent from the Vatican visit: Kellyanne Conway, the senior counselor who remained behind in Washington; Reince Priebus, the chief-of-staff who dropped off Trump's trip after the first stop; and Steve Bannon, the fire-throwing chief strategist who, as the boss of Breitbart, oversaw articles harshly critical of the Pope.The photographs at the Vatican on Wednesday underscored a point that often goes unspoken in the Trump White House: old friends and family reign above all.