White House communications director resigns amid tensions
A top White House communications staffer has resigned as U.S. President Donald Trump considers a major staff overhaul amid intensifying inquiries into his campaign’s dealings with Russia.
The departure of Michael Dubke, Trump’s communications director, comes as aides and outside advisers say Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and revelations of possible ties between his campaign and Moscow.
Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”
Dubke wrote in a statement that it had been an honour to serve Trump and “my distinct pleasure to work side by side, day by day with the staff of the communications and press departments.”
Dubke offered his resignation earlier this month, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway told The Associated Press on Tuesday, but offered to stay on during the president’s first foreign trip. His last day has not yet been determined.
A Republican consultant, Dubke joined the White House team in February. The position had gone unfilled after campaign aide Jason Miller — Trump’s original choice for communications director — backed out of the job in December before the president’s inauguration. Dubke founded Crossroads Media, a GOP firm that specializes in political advertising.
Dubke is the latest White House staffer to leave the administration as scrutiny intensifies over contacts Trump staffers may have had with Russian government officials during the campaign and transition.
It’s unclear whether other staff moves are imminent. Trump has entertained bringing his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, more formally back into the fold. And both Lewandowski and Bossie visited the White House on Monday night, according to a person familiar with the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private get-together.
Dubke’s hiring was intended to lighten the load on Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, who had also been handling the duties of communications director during Trump’s first month in office. Trump has privately and publicly pinned much of the blame for his administration’s rough start on the White House’s communications strategy.