That was fast: The Trump White House’s series of staff departures

A photo illustration of the Grim Reaper outside the White House
Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty

Despite President Trump’s recent insistence that there is no “chaos” in his White House, his administration has been rocked by a seemingly never-ending series of high-level staff departures.

Indeed, Anthony Scaramucci’s Monday resignation was the culmination of a turbulent 10 days — bookended with his hiring and dismissal — that saw the departures of the White House press secretary and the chief of staff.

Below, in chronological order, are the most notable firings, resignations, criticisms and reassignments since Trump took office — including the attorney general, a former loyalist whom Trump has publicly taunted and criticized.

January 30: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is fired
Yates was fired by Trump after she ordered lawyers at the Department of Justice not to defend his executive order barring Syrian refugees and citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. That executive order, the first iteration of the “Muslim ban” Trump promised on the campaign trail, was stymied in federal court. Trump later signed a revised version, and his administration is taking the issue to the Supreme Court.

February 13: National security adviser Michael Flynn resigns
Flynn, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters, was forced to resign less than a month into his tenure as national security adviser, after it was revealed he discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador and then misled Vice President Pence about those discussions.

March 10: U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara is fired
Bharara was one of 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Obama who were ordered to resign by the Department of Justice after Trump took office. When Bharara refused to resign, he was fired. During the transition, Bharara said both Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked that he continue in his role as U.S. attorney. It’s not uncommon for presidents to appoint their own U.S. attorneys, especially when their predecessors are of a different party.

March 30: White House deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh is reassigned
Walsh departed the White House in March to join America First Policies, an outside organization tasked with promoting the Republican agenda.

April 9: Deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland is reassigned
After Flynn’s departure from the National Security Council, his replacement, H.R. McMaster, shuffled the remaining staff. McFarland departed her post after scoring the U.S. ambassadorship to Singapore.

May 5: White House chief usher Angella Reid is fired
Reid, the first woman and second African-American to hold the chief usher position, was dismissed as part of what the White House said was normal staff turnover for a new administration. However, chief ushers are considered part of the White House’s permanent staff and usually enjoy a long tenure. Timothy Harleth, a Trump International Hotel employee, was later tapped to replace Reid.

May 9: FBI Director James Comey is fired
Comey’s abrupt dismissal rocked the White House for weeks, and questions about the termination have continued to dog the administration.

The White House’s original stated reason for firing Comey was his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, but Trump later admitted that the decision was influenced by the escalating investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia. Comey later testified he felt pressured by the president to ease up on the matter. Special counsel Robert Mueller now leads the investigation. (Trump has reportedly mulled firing Mueller as well.)

May 18: White House communications director Mike Dubke resigns
Dubke did not have a public role and his departure was largely drama free. Reports indicated that Dubke recognized a need for change in the West Wing’s communications strategy, given the mounting Russia investigations, the fallout from Comey’s firing, and the absence of major legislative victories. Dubke’s job would remain open for over two months, until Trump appointed Scaramucci.

July 6: Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub resigns
Shaub, the department director since 2013, was publicly critical of the Trump White House even before his resignation, and has been even more vocal since leaving his post. Shaub said Trump’s actions, such as using his namesake hotels to host fundraisers and campaign events, “create the appearance of profiting from the presidency” and risk America’s reputation becoming that of a “kleptocracy.”

July 18: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire
The president does not hesitate to dole out criticism, but his rebuke of Sessions, one of his staunchest supporters and the first sitting senator to endorse his candidacy, was particularly stunning. Trump said he would not have appointed Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a move he called “very unfair.” In the following days, he did not let up, branding Sessions “beleaguered” and attacking him for not investigating Clinton or firing acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who has since been confirmed). Trump has remained coy on Sessions’ job security.

July 21: White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigns
Spicer’s resignation marked the beginning of a turbulent 10 days in the West Wing. Spicer, who tussled with reporters during combative and widely televised press briefings, resigned the same day Scaramucci was appointed communications director. Though his stated reason for leaving was to give Scaramucci a “clean slate,” it was reported that Spicer strongly opposed bringing the New York financier into the White House communications shop. Spicer’s deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, moved up to fill his role.

July 25: White House press aide Michael Short resigns
Short was the second casualty of Scaramucci’s short reign. After Scaramucci told a reporter he planned to fire Short as part of his plan to combat leaks, Short resigned, denying he was the source of any leaks.

July 27: White House chief of staff Reince Priebus resigns
Priebus offered his resignation after Scaramucci accused the former Republican National Committee chairman of being the source of White House leaks and suggested that he would be forced to resign. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly moved to take Priebus’ role.

July 31: White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci resigns
Scaramucci resigned Monday, apparently forced out by Kelly after Scaramucci gave a profanity-laced interview trashing Priebus and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

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