A guide to the resignations, ousters, and firings of the Trump administration.
In early spring, the administration was bleeding officials by the week and everyone else seemed on the verge of getting ousted. But a lull had set in since — until Pruitt’s departure this week. Still, Trump has had the most Cabinet-level staff turnover at this point in his presidency than any other president in the past 100 years, according to the Associated Press.
Pruitt’s resignation is a surprise only because he managed to survive this long. He’s been under scrutiny for months for a dizzying assortment of scandals, from getting cheap rent from an energy lobbyist to his $43,000 sound-proof phone booth to forcing his staffers to book his travel on their personal credit cards. Pruitt faced more than a dozen investigations.
Trump tweeted on Thursday that he’d accepted Pruitt’s resignation, crediting him with doing an “outstanding job.” Corruption aside, Pruitt did advance Trump’s agenda at the EPA, where he oversaw the rollback of environmental protections and waged war against the agency from within.
I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this. The Senate confirmed Deputy at EPA, Andrew Wheeler, will…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
…on Monday assume duties as the acting Administrator of the EPA. I have no doubt that Andy will continue on with our great and lasting EPA agenda. We have made tremendous progress and the future of the EPA is very bright!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2018
Now that Pruitt’s been forced out, here’s a look at everyone else who’s resigned, or been fired, in the first 18 months of the Trump administration.
- Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator
Scandal after scandal after scandal finally got to be too much. Trump said Thursday that he accepted Pruitt’s resignation. Andrew Wheeler, his deputy, will take over and likely continue Pruitt’s anti-regulatory crusade.
- White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin
Trump lost one of his most seasoned aides, and one of the few staffers with a long résumé of White House service. Hagin, who announced plans to depart in June, helped plan Trump’s Singapore summit, and somehow lasted more than a year, though he was reportedly distrusted by Trump loyalists because of his ties to the Bush family.
- Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, National Security Council senior director for global health security
Ziemer, who led the President’s Malaria Initiative under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, departed the National Security Council after his department was eliminated in an organizational shakeup in May.
- Ty Cobb, White House special counsel
Cobb, one of the president’s top attorneys in the Mueller probe, stepped down in May. Reports suggested that others on Trump’s legal team wanted someone more aggressive as the special counsel investigation headed into its second year.
- Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser
Bossert announced that he was leaving his post in April. His abrupt departure is likely a consequence of National Security Adviser John Bolton’s arrival, who wanted to build his own team.
- Michael Anton, National Security Council spokesperson
Anton is probably best known for his essay, published under a pseudonym, that called 2016 the “Flight 93” election. The essential argument was that the US was on the verge of destruction like the doomed 9/11 plane; electing Hillary Clinton would hasten its demise, but Trump might be able to take control of the metaphorical plane and avert disaster.
Trump’s defenders seized on the argument, and Anton joined the National Security Council under the first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. He stayed on as an NSC spokesperson during H.R. McMaster’s tenure. His departure coincided with the arrival of the hawkish John Bolton.
- David Shulkin, secretary of veterans affairs
Shulkin had been the frontrunner in the competition over the next Cabinet member to go. Trump made it official with a tweet. Shulkin is one of several Cabinet officials who have faced ethics questions over misuse of taxpayer funds, with his relating to an expensive European trip.
- H.R. McMaster, national security adviser
After weeks of speculation, McMaster left the White House after a little more than a year, and was replaced by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. McMaster wasn’t Trump’s first choice, and their working relationship was at times fraught.
I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2018
- Andrew McCabe, FBI deputy director
The Trump administration fired McCabe a day before he was set to retire with a full pension after a 21-year career. McCabe’s dismissal came after a report from the Department of Justice inspector general that found McCabe was not candid about his interactions with reporters. McCabe had stepped away from his job in January after months of attacks from Trump and his allies over a controversy involving his wife’s alleged ties to Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
- Rex Tillerson, secretary of state
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
- John McEntee, Trump’s personal assistant
McEntee, President Trump’s personal assistant, was escorted out of the White House on March 12, according to the Wall Street Journal, after being fired over an unspecified security issue.
- Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council
- Josh Raffel, deputy White House communications director
- Hope Hicks, White House communications director
Hicks, one of Trump’s closest and longest-serving aides, resigned in February after a turbulent few weeks.
- Rachel Brand, associate attorney general
Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, resigned after nine months. She left for a job in the private sector, but she departed amid Trump’s continued attacks on the Justice Department and federal law enforcement.
- Rob Porter, White House staff secretary
Porter resigned amid domestic abuse allegations and revelations that despite controlling the paper flow of sensitive documents to Trump’s desk, he had not obtained a long-term security clearance.
- Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Fitzgerald resigned amid allegations of a conflict of interest; she had purchased shares in a tobacco company a month before assuming her job.
- Rick Dearborn, deputy White House chief of staff
Dearborn stepped down for a job in the private sector around the one-year mark of Trump’s tenure.
- Omarosa Manigault-Newman, director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison
- Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser
- Tom Price, secretary of health and human services
Price resigned amid mounting scandals, including his use of taxpayer money to charter flights and his investments in health care stocks, which raised questions about conflicts of interest.
- Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president focusing on national security and terrorism
Gorka said he resigned; the White House implied he was fired. Either way, the controversial adviser — he was linked to far-right Hungarian groups — parted ways with the administration in August and began making regular appearances on Fox News.
- Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist
- Carl Icahn, special adviser to the president on regulatory matters
Icahn said he had stopped advising Trump in August 2017, though he also claimed he never had a formal role with the administration. The billionaire friend of Trump’s was plagued by conflict of interest questions before he relinquished his role.
- Sean Spicer, White House press secretary
The embattled and increasingly sidelined press secretary resigned in July 2017 after Anthony Scaramucci was appointed White House communications director. Speaking of which…
- Anthony Scaramucci, White House communications director
In what might be the record for shortest tenure, Scaramucci was fired after just 10 days at his job in the White House. He was reportedly ousted by Chief of Staff John Kelly, though an expletive-laced interview probably didn’t help.
- Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff
Priebus said he resigned, though it appeared he was unceremoniously ousted after Trump announced his successor, John Kelly, on Twitter and reportedly kicked him out of the presidential motorcade. Priebus’s departure wasn’t a surprise; weeks of reports suggested Trump was on the verge of axing him.
- Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics
Shaub, the ethics watchdog appointed during President Barack Obama’s second term, resigned in July. He had sharply criticized the Trump administration over ethics questions; he’s now working with an outside ethics watchdog.
- James Comey, FBI director
You probably know this one by now. Trump officially fired Comey because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but he later admitted it was because he was angry about the Russia investigation. The fallout from Comey’s firing precipitated the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
- Michael Dubke, White House communications director
The first, but definitely not the last, communications director to resign. He lasted about three months.
- Vivek H. Murthy, surgeon general
Murthy, an Obama administration holdover, was asked to resign by the Trump administration.
- K.T. McFarland, deputy national security adviser
McFarland was forced out after H.R. McMaster took over as national security adviser. She was nominated as ambassador to Singapore but withdrew her nomination in February because she’s come under scrutiny in Mueller’s probe.
- Katie Walsh, White House deputy chief of staff
Walsh, an ally of Priebus’s, left the administration after about two months to work for an outside pro-Trump group. Walsh’s notoriety rose months after her departure, and she was widely quoted in Michael Wolff’s Fury and Fury on the White House dysfunction (some of which she disputes).
- Michael Flynn, national security adviser
Flynn resigned under increasing pressure after it appeared he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his contacts with Russians during the presidential transition. He has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in special counsel Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
- Preet Bharara, US attorney for the Southern District of New York
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked for the resignations of all 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys — a customary practice when a new president takes office. But Bharara’s case stood out because Trump had reportedly asked him to stay on during the transition. Bharara refused to resign; Trump fired him.
- Sally Yates, acting attorney general
An Obama administration holdover, Yates was fired after she refused to defend Trump’s executive order that temporarily barred people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the US.