A fresh Politico story out Monday reports that President Donald Trump has given perpetually embattled chief of staff Reince Priebus an ultimatum: clean up the White House by July 4, or you’re fired.
Per Politico, Trump last month “berated Priebus in the Oval Office in front of his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie for the dysfunction in the White House,” and has since mulled firing his chief of staff.
Reports surfaced in May that Trump was considering bringing former campaign staffers Lewandowski and Bossie to set straight a White House that finds itself mired in dysfunction just a few months into the president’s first term.
Rumors of a staff shakeup have gathered steam in recent weeks, following a deluge of bad press for the administration that likely led to the resignation of communications director Mike Dubke.
And Priebus has been a favorite target of Trump’s ire as his administration stumbles through a series of flubs — taking the brunt of the blame for the chaotic travel ban rollout, the failed first attempt at passing a health care bill, and ill-advised firing of FBI director James Comey. In the wake of that last controversy, Priebus reportedly said “I’ve got one foot on a banana peel and another out the door.”
The latest report notes that Trump has often issued holiday deadlines for Priebus, so much so that one staffer told Politico “that every holiday becomes a referendum on Reince” — one that he manages to survive each time. Politico reported last week that Priebus was a “dead man walking,” and has only held onto his job is simply because no one wants to be Trump’s chief of staff.
If rumors that Priebus is next on the chopping block seem familiar, it’s because they’ve circulated almost weekly since Trump took office (and a few even predate the president’s inauguration). The reports typically follow the same format: anonymous White House sources (likely staffers aligned with the Steve Bannon faction of the WH, in opposition to Priebus) claim the knives are out for the chief of staff, with the rumors forcefully rebutted by Priebus allies, like press secretary Sean Spicer.
For reference, here are all the times — individual distinct instances — we could find where the media has speculated that the end could be nigh for Priebus. They go all the way back to before Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Has Reince Priebus Already Overplayed His Hand?
December 14, 2016
Priebus, Flynn, others on thin ice
Knives are out for Reince
Knives out for Reince
How Reince Priebus hangs on
UPDATE 07/24/17: Reince Priebus has been fired yet again by the media, this time in a Politico story reporting that he may be replaced by incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci — whose hiring reportedly humiliated the current chief of staff — by the end of the year:
[image via screengrab]
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