Reince Priebus gets pushed out of the White House: Trump fires his chief of staff

In his first six months, Trump has lost his national security advisor, communications director, and press secretary

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 28, 2017 5:47PM (EDT)


A week after his loyal ally Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary, Reince Priebus followed suit -- finally succumbing to the increasing pressure to push him out.

As chairman of the Republican Party, Priebus was reluctant to back Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Nevertheless, he helped lead the former reality TV star from Trump Tower to the White House during the transition and somehow lasted six months in a dysfunctional administration as White House chief of staff.

But late Friday, the president tweeted out what had become readily apparent: Priebus wouldn't survive the very public and very ugly intra-party assault he faced from incoming White House communications director Anthony "the Mooch" Scaramucci.

According to multiple reporters, Priebus offers his resignation to Trump on Thursday. Also on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that "Reince is doing a fantastic job at the White House and I believe he has the president's confidence."

Priebus still flew on Air Force One with Trump earlier on Friday to an appearance in Long Island, New York. Scaramucci, who called Priebus a "paranoid schizophrenic" in a shockingly profane interview published in the New Yorker late Thursday night, also traveled with the president.

The announcement of Priebus' departure from the White House, the fifth high-profile official to leave in Trumps's first six months in office, comes only hours after the president and his party suffered an embarrassing late-night defeat after Senate Republicans failed to pass any version of a repeal of Obamacare.

Priebus' successor John Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general and the current Homeland Security secretary. Trump tweeted that Kelly "has been a true star of my administration." According to the Washington Post, "Kelly has a warm rapport with White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who has worked closely with him on shaping the administration's border enforcement policy."

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia praised the pick of Kelly on Friday. "You can't find a finer human being and a more committed patriot than John Kelly," he told MSNBC's Chuck Todd.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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