Trump dumps chief of staff

Penticton Herald - - WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — His White House in tur­moil, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump abruptly an­nounced late Fri­day he was ap­point­ing Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly to be his chief of staff, end­ing the tu­mul­tuous six-month ten­ure of Reince Priebus.

Af­ter months of spec­u­la­tion about Priebus’ fate, Trump tweeted his de­ci­sion just as he landed in Wash­ing­ton af­ter a speech in New York in which he lav­ishly praised Kelly’s per­for­mance at Home­land Se­cu­rity.

Priebus, the for­mer Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee head, was the fre­quent tar­get of ru­mours about his job se­cu­rity amid in­fight­ing and con­fu­sion within the White House and a long whis­per cam­paign by Trump al­lies. Then, on Thurs­day, he was the sub­ject of a re­mark­able and pro­fane pub­lic re­buke by Trump’s newly ap­pointed White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, An­thony Scara­mucci.

Priebus told al­lies that he had of­fered his res­ig­na­tion to Trump on Thurs­day.

Trump’s an­nounce­ment on Twit­ter said, “I am pleased to in­form you that I have just named Gen­eral/Sec­re­tary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great Amer­i­can ... and a Great Leader. John has also done a spec­tac­u­lar job at Home­land Se­cu­rity. He has been a true star of my dmin­is­tra­tion.”

He also saluted Priebus, the chief of staff he had just pushed out.

“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his ser­vice and ded­i­ca­tion to his coun­try. We ac­com­plished a lot to­gether and I am proud of him!”

Kelly is a re­tired Marine fourstar gen­eral. Trump had fo­cused on him in re­cent days, telling those close to him that he be­lieved mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline was what his ad­min­is­tra­tion needed.

Priebus never could bring a sem­blance of or­der to the team of in­fight­ing ri­vals that pop­u­late Trump’s West Wing, and ques­tions about his fu­ture have long swirled around the of­fice. Those ques­tions sharply es­ca­lated this week with the ar­rival of Scara­mucci, the hard­charg­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor who was hired over Priebus’ ob­jec­tions.

Priebus’ al­ready tense re­la­tion­ship with Scara­mucci took a darker turn over the past two days when the com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief sug­gested in a late-night tweet that Priebus was one of the “leak­ers” that Trump has railed against. The New Yorker mag­a­zine pub­lished an in­ter­view Thurs­day in which Scara­mucci called Priebus, amid an avalanche of vul­gar­ity, a “para­noid schiz­o­phrenic.”

Priebus, who hails from Wis­con­sin and has deep ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, had grown in­creas­ingly iso­lated in the White House, as past Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee col­leagues and other al­lies have left or been pushed out. Those who have de­parted in­clude for­mer deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief Mike Dubke, press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer and press aide Michael Short. An­other early de­par­ture from the Trump White House was Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Michael Flynn.

Both Scara­mucci and Priebus trav­elled to New York’s Long Is­land with Trump on Fri­day for a speech in which the pres­i­dent high­lighted ef­forts to crack down on the gang MS-13. Priebus took the re­turn flight to Wash­ing­ton, which had to cir­cle the run­way due to a storm, his fate sealed in the tweets that were sent by the pres­i­dent just as he stepped off the plane.


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