Updated at 12:10 p.m. | President Donald Trump has accepted the resignation of communications director Mike Dubke, according to a White House official.
Dubke’s departure after just more than three months on the job came early Tuesday morning after a wave of weekend reports that Trump was poised to shake up his senior West Wing staff. The move comes amid a series of recent missteps and the ongoing Russia scandal that has dominated the news and could threaten his presidency.
A longtime Republican strategist, Dubke joined the Trump White House in mid-February after the administration’s sluggish start. His departure could be the first move in a possible staff overhaul at a time when Trump reportedly is frustrated with how his still-young presidency is going. White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus confirmed that Dubke is helping with a “transition.”
“We appreciate Mike and are very grateful for his service to President Trump and our country,” Preibus said in a statement. “Mike tendered his resignation just before the President’s historic international trip and offered to remain onboard until a transition is concluded.”
Dubke follows Michael Flynn, the embattled retired three-star general who was Trump’s first national security adviser, and several lower-level senior aides out the door before the administration’s 200th day. More departures could be coming as early as this week.
During his brief tenure, Dubke’s performance was something of a mixed bag. On one hand, he helped give journalists access to senior White House and Cabinet-level officials on a regular basis.
But at the same time, Trump was angry that Dubke and others struggled to craft communications plans to defend the president and push back at allegations stemming from the ongoing investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
For instance, several GOP sources grumbled last week to a Roll Call reporter that the White House continued to ignore their offers to help with communications-related efforts such getting surrogates on television news programs to defend Trump.
Dubke told Politico, which first reported his resignation, that his reasons for leaving are “personal” and that he intends to return to his communications firm, the Black Rock Group. The firm has handled communications efforts for Alaska’s two Republican senators, one of whom weighed in Tuesday on the loss for the White House:
Mike Dubke’s departure is a loss for White House. I’m fortunate to have him as a trusted advisor & know he’ll be an asset wherever he goes.— SenDanSullivan (@SenDanSullivan) May 30, 2017
Republican and Democratic operatives in recent days have said the problem with a West Wing makeover will be finding qualified Republican hands who are willing to work for an administration in light of the surrounding federal and congressional investigations — and one that has struggled to produce clear domestic victories, while angering longtime U.S. allies such as Germany.