Reince Priebus was dealt another blow last week as it was announced that the President was bringing on Anthony Scaramucci as White House Communications Director. Priebus vehemently opposed the appointment. That blow was only intensified when his long time friend and ally Sean Spicer resigned in response to the Scaramucci hiring.
Priebus’ Role is Shrinking
Reince Priebus accepted the challenging job of White House Chief of Staff hoping to last in the position for a year. It has been six months, and things have not eased up on Priebus. His role has largely diminished over the first six months of the Trump administration.
Trump’s decision to bring in Scaramucci was just the latest in a long string of shifts that have isolated the Chief of Staff. In his Friday address to the press, Scaramucci made clear he reports directly to the President. Traditionally all West Wing staffers report to the Chief of Staff.
Scaramucci isn’t the only staffer who has publicly made clear that he is not under the direction of Priebus. Special assistant and social media director Dan Scavino tweeted just Saturday that he reports directly to the President.
Alex Conant, a Republican strategist, said, “In a normal White House, every staffer reports to the chief of staff. Any staffer who believes that they don’t report to the chief of staff is going to be a potential headache for the chief of staff.”
Trump’s Message in Recent Staff Shake-Up
President Trump sent a clear signal to the rest of his team as he brought in Scaramucci. Slowly but steadily the Republican establishment staffers are being pushed out of the Trump White House. They are being replaced with political outsiders whose allegiance is primarily to the President and not necessarily to a sense of civic duty or loyalty to the service of the country.
Spicer is the 3rd and likely not the last, staffer brought into the administration by Priebus who has been cut loose. After the first failure of the House AHCA, Priebus’ deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh was pushed out. In May Mike Dubke, the former White House Communications Director resigned.
Scaramucci has made clear his intention to change the culture of the White House communications shop. He wants the focus to be on protecting the President. Staffers who are allies of Priebus are bracing themselves for what may come next.
When asked about how he will deal with leaks coming from the White House Scaramucci said, “I’m going to fire everybody – that’s how. You’re either going to stop leaking, or you’re going to get fired.”
When asked about Priebus’ job one Trump adviser said: “He’s still the White House chief of staff, for now.”