These Trump Officials All Had Humiliating Exits From the White House
If you had all the resources in the world and knew how to hire “the best people,” what are the chances you’d end up with Donald Trump’s Cabinet and staff? It would be difficult to pull off such a feat.
Just 14 months into Trump’s presidency, the National Security Advisor (25 days) and the White House Chief of Staff (190 days) were ancient history. In March 2018, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson became the latest statistic.
On many occasions, the departures were ugly — sometimes, downright embarrassing — for everyone involved. Here are 15 people who were humiliated on their way out of the Trump administration.
15. Johnny McEntee
- Position: Personal assistant and “body man”
Though McEntee was not a household name at the time of his March 13 departure, the circumstances of his White House departure suggest that may change. McEntee had served for several years as Trump’s personal assistant and “body man” after becoming president. (On “Veep”, he would be the Gary character played by Tony Hale.)
According to reports the morning he was fired, McEntee had been under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for financial crimes. Before he even had time to grab his coat, Secret Service officers escorted him out of the White House.
Next: This banker’s time in the White House involved several rough patches.
14. Gary Cohn
- Position: Chief economic adviser
When trying to pass the GOP tax plan, Trump couldn’t find a more loyal surrogate than Goldman Sachs’ own Gary Cohn. As the Trump administration’s chief economic adviser, Cohn had the inside track with CEOs who desperately wanted the corporate tax rates reduced.
However, the deal came with some compromises. When many executives parted ways with Trump following the Charlottesville riots, Cohn took heat for staying on board.
It wasn’t until steel tariffs became a Trump priority that Cohn left the White House. But the damage to his reputation had already been done.
Next: After an FBI shake-up, he endured Trump tweeting about his wife and retirement plans.
13. Andrew McCabe
- Position: FBI Deputy Director
When Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, he wanted to vent some anger about the Russia investigation. So he called in Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and grilled him about whom he voted for in 2016 (among other personal matters).
Later, Trump began tweeting about McCabe’s wife, who once ran for Senate, and even the deputy director’s pension once he heard McCabe planned to retire. It was already a cringe-worthy end to a long career in law enforcement, but on the day before his retirement it actually got worse: Trump had McCabe fired so he wouldn’t qualify for full benefits.
Next: Trump’s campaign CEO and chief strategist suddenly became a villain.
12. Steve Bannon
- Position: White House Chief Strategist
When he joined the Trump campaign as its CEO in August 2016, Trump described Bannon as “extremely capable” and “highly qualified.” After winning the election, Trump rewarded Bannon with the job of chief strategist in the White House.
Less than eight months later, Bannon was gone in what was seen as a move forced by John Kelly, the new chief of staff. By January 2018, with Bannon’s quotes in Fire and Fury on the record, the relationship really soured, and he became “Sloppy Steve” as well as “poor” and “a liar” in Trump tweets.
Next: This Cabinet official’s taste for private jets doomed his White House tenure.
11. Tom Price
- Position: Secretary of Health and Human Services
If you want to see how government officials happily burn through taxpayer money, just look at Tom Price’s record as Secretary of Health and Human Services. In just eight months on the job, Price racked up a $1 million tab for private planes, visits to his son, and other personal trips.
In one brief episode, Price managed to waste $500,000 on luxury travel in a few months’ time. He was forced to resign from his position in humiliation in December 2017.
Next: This relationship went south when the Russia investigation gripped the administration.
10. James Comey
- Position: FBI Director
When Trump fired FBI Director Comey in May 2017, comparisons to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre came swiftly, but it led to negative media coverage for both men. On at least one occasion, the president asked Comey to go light on National Security Adviser Michael Flynn as his role in the Russia investigation came to light.
That put Comey in an extremely awkward position, and things got worse when he didn’t agree to do so. In June 2017, when Comey testified on Capitol Hill, there was another ugly round of media coverage and a more embarrassing tweets from Trump.
Next: While people debated what exactly Sebastian Gorka did, the White House let the Bannon associate go.
9. Sebastian Gorka
- Position: Deputy Assistant to the President
Sebastian Gorka’s title may have been deputy assistant to the president, but the only thing people actually saw him do was go on cable news to defend the president. Once Bannon made his exit, Gorka followed quickly.
Just before he was forced out, experts in the terrorism field weighed in on Gorka’s credentials. “It’s surreal and quite horrifying that someone who’s such an amateur has reached such heights,” one told Rolling Stone. “This is not somebody who should be working anywhere near the White House,” said another.
Next: There were many humiliating moments to choose from with this Trump staffer.
8. Sean Spicer
- Position: White House Press Secretary
As press secretary, Sean Spicer lasted only six months at the White House, but it was an eventful six months. You may remember some of his greatest hits, which included a whopper about “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration” and that time he was hiding from reporters in the bushes on White House grounds.
Before he departed, Spicer also endured humiliating critiques by Trump (his suit choices) and a wild, convincing impersonation by Melissa McCarthy on “Saturday Night Live.” But many suggested Trump crossed a line with Spicer (a Catholic) when he didn’t let the poor guy meet Pope Francis during a Vatican trip.
Next: Before she left, we learned more about Hope Hicks than we wanted to.
7. Hope Hicks
- Position: White House Communications Director
As White House officials in this administration go, Hope Hicks set the standard for being low-key — to the point she was almost invisible. Then, in 2018, we learned she had been dating Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter, two men accused of abusive behavior with women.
Before Porter made his exit, Hicks was the one drafting the statement in his defense, so her ethics record took a few lumps, too. During this eventful period, she testified to the House Intelligence Committee that telling “white lies” was standard practice in her work for Trump.
Next: Photos of a battered ex-wife ended his term in the White House.
6. Rob Porter
- Position: White House Staff Secretary
Staff Secretary Rob Porter was another name most people didn’t recognize before his scandal broke, but that changed quickly. Allegations of physical abuse by Porter’s two ex-wives shook the administration in February 2018.
Porter wasn’t the only one who looked bad. Once news emerged Chief of Staff John Kelly knew about the allegations for months, calls for Kelly’s resignation followed.
Next: After calling Trump a “moron,” you knew it wouldn’t end well.
5. Rex Tillerson
- Position: Secretary of State
Look, the idea of going from CEO of Exxon to be Secretary of State is ridiculous, but Rex Tillerson managed to carry himself with dignity during his time on the job. On several occasions, Tillerson publicly broke with Trump on positions he considered bad for American interests.
Of course, his most famous moment in the administration was the time he reportedly called Trump “a f—king moron.” When he didn’t deny it, you knew the relationship would end poorly, and Tillerson endured Trump telling him he should eat his greens as well as lectures from the obnoxious Stephen Miller.
But the most humiliating moment was Tillerson learning he got fired via Twitter — a few days after he was told by Kelly to watch for a Trump tweet. That’s like getting fired by your teenage daughter.
Next: This Trump official never got any respect.
4. Reince Priebus
- Position: White House Chief of Staff
If there was a Rodney Dangerfield of the Trump administration, it was Reince Priebus, who preceded Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. Priebus, the former RNC Chair, had already endured multiple humiliations at the hands of Trump during the 2016 campaign.
But it got even worse after the election. Once, Trump actually ordered Priebus to kill a fly, but the day he got fired was supremely embarrassing. According to White House reporters, Priebus was riding along in the presidential motorcade in July 2017 after a flight on Air Force One.
Suddenly, the vehicles stopped, and everyone got out of Priebus’s car except him and the driver. Photographers circled the car, snapping pictures of Priebus through the car window. When the rest of the motorcade drove off without him, Priebus knew he was unemployed.
Next: Even for someone with no shame, getting dragged out of the White House is a humiliating experience.
- Position: Office of Public Liaison Communications Director
Can an in-your-face reality TV star feel shame? That’s up for debate, but reports of Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s departure from the White House probably did the job.
According to White House reporter April Ryan, Omarosa was “escorted out of the building and off campus” by Secret Service agents after acting “very vulgar” and “cursing a lot.” Soon after, she appeared on reality TV show to dish on her departure.
Next: For a National Security Advisor, this Cabinet member’s foreign contacts did not seem right.
2. Michael Flynn
- Position: National Security Advisor
In any other administration, the departure of Michael Flynn would be impossible to top. While we saw the retired general and Trump campaign surrogate leading “Lock Her Up!” chants in 2016, the public was unaware he was an unregistered Turkish agent who had established extensive contacts with Russia.
Usually, a president would not invite someone who cheered Putin at a Russian state dinner into the administration. But Flynn was already advising Trump’s campaign in 2015, and his lies to the vice president and FBI about Russia later made for some embarrassing stories.
Just after the guilty plea, Flynn had to put his D.C.-area house up for sale in hopes of paying his legal fees, adding another layer of humiliation.
Next: Only the Mooch can claim the most embarrassing exit from the Trump administration.
1. Anthony Scaramucci
- Position: White House Communications Director
A few have come close, but no one in the Trump orbit made a mockery of himself — and the administration — quite like like Anthony Scaramucci. In his five-day tenure as White House Communications Director, “The Mooch” provided the press and comedians with material that lasted for months.
Much of it came during a phone call to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza. In that chat, Scaramucci pressured Lizza to reveal a source, referred to Priebus as a “f**king paranoid schizophrenic,” and said Bannon wanted to perform a certain vulgar act upon himself. It was the ugliest tirade we’ve ever heard from a White House official.
Later, when confronted with his remarks, The Mooch felt betrayed. However, he neglected to tell Lizza that the call was off the record — something you’d expect the communications director to know. In this White House, you just can’t take anything for granted.
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