President Trump didn’t hire the best people, and now his administration may be suffering from the consequences of filling top jobs in government with creatures from the D.C. swamp.
Three major Trump administration officials may be on their way out the door, according to several news reports Monday morning. Following Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s departure last week, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s names have been circulated as the next to pack up and leave.
It all started last week when Sean Spicer was blindsided by the president’s decision to hire Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director, a decision made without his knowledge and in spite of objections from White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Priebus.
Spicer will continue to serve until August, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders taking over his role as press secretary and Scaramucci, her new boss, reporting directly to the president. This detail has turned heads and caused rampant speculation. It is unusual for a member of White House staff to bypass the chief of staff and answer to the president directly, but Reince Priebus’ influence in the White House is reportedly diminishing.
In a story headlined “Priebus sidelined as Washington outsiders' power grows,” Politico’s Tara Palmeri reports that there is talk of Scaramucci being brought in to the administration as “an internal candidate” for chief of staff. That Scaramucci does not answer to Priebus, and is therefore outside of his control, hints of Priebus’ tenuous position within the administration.
But if Reince Priebus is on the outs, he may not even be the next in line. According to Axios, President Trump’s displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions has boiled over to the point where he is reportedly considering bringing in Rudy Giuliani to lead the Justice Department.
The president took to Twitter over the weekend and Monday morning to lament that “our beleaguered A.G.” has not continued the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s alleged crimes and potential collusion with foreign governments. Last week, Trump publicly rebuked Sessions and said that he would not have hired him had he known the attorney general would recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Giuliani was often mentioned as a candidate for attorney general before Trump nominated Sessions, though the former New York City mayor lobbied to be secretary of state. Giuliani claimed to have turned down two offers from Trump to serve in Cabinet-level positions after it was clear that he wouldn’t get the secretary of state job.
That brings us to the man who beat Giuliani for the State job: Rex Tillerson. According to CNN’s John King, the former ExxonMobil CEO found Trump’s public rebuke of Sessions last week “unprofessional,” as sources told CNN that Tillerson is thinking about resigning sometime around the holidays.
What to make of these reports?
It is clear that these three top administration officials have different priorities and agendas from the president. That is why rumors of their imminent departure (by resignation or pink slip) are flying around D.C.
The president disagrees with his attorney general’s conduct on the Russia investigation. The secretary of state opposes the president’s position in the Iran nuclear deal. The chief of staff is a D.C. establishment-friendly Republican who never fully embraced the president’s campaign platform and has failed to expunge Obama holdovers from the executive branch.
If President Trump had hired individuals who were on board with his goals from day one, the executive branch and president would be on the same page, moving toward the same goals. There would be no discussion of staff shakeups.
Instead, infighting and secrecy are trademarks of the Trump White House; leaks from the administration come daily. And the American people are left wondering who’s next for the circular firing squad.
This is Trump’s chance. If the rumors are true, and these officials are on their way out, the president will have another opportunity to put people into power that are in full agreement with his agenda and who want to see him succeed doing what he said he would do, not what they think he should do.
Get rid of the shallow state problem officials. Hire people who want to secure the border, who want to cancel the Iran nuclear deal, who want to repeal Obamacare and see tax cuts become hallmark achievements of the Trump presidency.
Hire better people this time because there will be no next time.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
He is the Special Impeachment Counsel.