White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor re­signs amid ten­sions

Cape Breton Post - - News | World - BY VI­VIAN SALAMA

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.

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