In a statement released on Friday, Priebus said:
“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve this President and our country. I want to thank the President for giving me this very special opportunity. I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President’s agenda and policies. I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God’s blessings and great success.”
Describing his short tenure late Friday afternoon on CNN, Priebus averred: “Change is good. (President Trump) wanted to go in a different direction. A president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it’s a good time to hit the reset button.”
Mr. Trump announced on Twitter Friday afternoon he had named Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head John Kelly to succeed Priebus.
A curious choice to lead White House staff from the very beginning, Priebus’ Thursday departure follows the July 21 resignation of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. It is widely speculated Spicer, who maintained a good relationship with Priebus, objected to the hire of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci, who Trump hired to serve as White House director of communications.
One day prior to Priebus’ resignation, Scaramucci lashed out at Priebus and top Trump aide, Steve Bannon, in a published interview with The New Yorker magazine. Speaking over the phone with Ryan Lizza, Scaramucci eviscerated both Bannon and Priebus with crude and colorful language, referring to Priebus as a “f*****g paranoid schizophrenic.”
Later in the interview, Scaramucci intimated that Priebus was one of the top administration officials responsible for leaking inside information to the media, the latest incident involving Scaramucci’s personal financial disclosure papers filed with the Office of Government Ethics.
Often seen as a bridge between establishment Republicans and Trump allies, Priebus previously served as chair of the Republican National Committee, a position in which he frequently found himself in the midst of controversy during the 2016 presidential election.
Priebus replacement, John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. Southern Command, will assume the role of chief of staff immediately.
[Roll Call] [CNN] [Reuters] [The New Yorker] [Photo courtesy Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Huffington Post]