Real estate developer Donald Trump shot to national fame as a reality television star on “The Apprentice” with the snappy tagline: “You’re fired!” Now president, Trump often makes other people in the White House do the dirty work or shames those he wants out into quitting themselves.
Ways in which Trump has pulled the plug on aides:
Trump announced on Friday he was replacing his chief of staff after months of speculation about Priebus’s fate and a series of belittling and emasculating comments from Trump and other White House aides. Priebus told CNN that he’d resigned on Thursday after it became clear to him the president “wanted to go a different direction.” The former Republican Party chairman added: “He intuitively determined that it was time to do something differently. And I think he’s right.”
When the president decided to fire the FBI director in May, he deployed one his most trusted and longest-serving aides to carry out the task: bodyguard-turned-security director-turned director of Oval Office operations Keith Schiller. Schiller was sent to the Justice Department to deliver a letter notifying Comey of his firing. But the director was in California for a previously scheduled appearance and learned of his dismissal from TV.
After months of infighting and negative headlines during the campaign, Trump finally decided in June 2016 to oust his campaign manager. Lewandowski had guided the campaign with the motto, “Let Trump be Trump.” Trump had stuck with Lewandowski even after he was accused of roughing up a female reporter. He agreed to pull the plug only after an intervention from his adult children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Lewandowski was unceremoniously escorted out of Trump Tower in Manhattan by security after being notified of his dismissal, but continued to speak with Trump regularly.
New Jersey’s governor spent months leading the president-elect’s transition team, pulling together policy papers and coming up with lists of potential Cabinet members. But Trump decided he no longer required Christie’s services in the days after his election victory and replaced his longtime personal friend with Mike Pence, the vice president-elect. This time, according to The New York Times, Trump gave chief strategist Steve Bannon the chore of telling Christie he was out.
Trump chose to fire his campaign chairman amid a steady stream of negative headlines about Manafort’s foreign consulting work. He technically resigned from the position last August after Trump made clear his time was done. Trump’s middle son, Eric Trump, said in an interview at the time that his father was concerned that questions about Manafort’s past were taking attention away from the billionaire’s presidential bid.
Trump’s campaign adviser-turned-national security adviser resigned in February, following reports that he had misled Pence and other officials about his contacts with Russia. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he gave the vice president and others “incomplete information” about his calls with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. But Flynn’s resignation wasn’t voluntary. Trump later said that he’d fired Flynn, and blamed leaks from intelligence agencies and biased reporting from the “fake media” for forcing his hand.
The man behind many of Trump’s earliest and most popular campaign ideas was pushed out of Trump’s campaign in the summer of 2015 following a report that he’d posted racially charged material on his Facebook page. This time, Trump delivered the news to Nunberg directly over the phone. The campaign also released a statement that falsely minimized Nunberg’s role in the campaign, describing him as a “short-term consultant” and “low-level” staffer.
The White House press secretary announced his resignation earlier this month after six months on the job. He quit after Trump tapped New York financier Anthony Scaramucci to serve as White House communications director.
Spicer, who had long been seeking the more strategic, behind-the-scene role, quit with little warning, telling The Associated Press that he felt it would be best to give Scaramucci a chance to start the job with a “clean slate.” Spicer was not fired and said in an interview with Fox News that the president wanted him to stay on. But he had been subjected to a string of public slights by his boss, including being excluded from a Trump meeting with the pope during a trip to the Vatican and a series of public statements in which Trump said that Spicer had been beaten up by the press.