By JOHN T. BENNETT and ERIC GARCIAUpdated at 5:32 p.m. | White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from the Trump administration on new Chief of Staff John Kelly’s first day on the job, as the retired Marine four-star general seeks to lessen the chaos in the West Wing.
Scaramucci “does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a late-afternoon briefing.
In a shift, “all staff” — including the president’s daughter and son-in-law — will report to Kelly, Sanders said, adding President Donald Trump has given his new chief of staff “full authority” to run West Wing operations. That is a major change inside Trump’s White House: an organizational chart reviewed recently by Roll Call showed around a dozen individuals or offices that reported directly to Trump.
That number was in the single digits for recent past presidents.
As the news broke that Scaramucci was out, Kelly was in the East Room for a Medal of Honor ceremony. He sat near the stage, chatting with with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others. He was smiling and in good spirits.
Scaramucci’s ouster, first reported by the New York Times, turned an eventful-but-routine day at the executive mansion into another frenzied one. The announcement came mere hours after Trump declared on Twitter that there is “No WH chaos!”
Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2017
Kelly should not be cautious in doing what he needs to clean up the White House, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said.
“Whatever Gen. Kelly, the new chief of staff, feels he should do to clean everything up ... I’d air on the side of going to the farthest extreme possible,” Corker said.
Scaramucci was a controversial pick, having been cited as the cause for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer leaving.
He also became late-night fodder after a profane interview was released showing him using foul language when talking about former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
Though he lasted for nearly another week after the New Yorker published an account of the conversation, Trump ultimately deemed Scaramucci’s comments to a New Yorker reporter last week “unacceptable,” she said.
Sanders declined to explain from the podium just how Scaramucci’s departure played out behind the scenes. But her office issued a statement saying: “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”
Sean Spicer, the SNL-parodied press secretary who resigned rather than work for Scaramucci, apparently still plans to depart Trump’s staff. Sanders told reporters she is “not aware of any changes” to Spicer’s resignation.
Vulnerable members of Congress quickly chimed in.
“General Kelly is 1 for 1. Let’s keep it going,” Florida GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo tweeted. His 26th District race is rated Tilt Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.
General Kelly is 1 for 1. Let's keep it going.— Carlos Curbelo (@carloslcurbelo) July 31, 2017
Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash, sitting in a safely red 3rd District seat, summed up much of the social media reaction with a tweet of his own: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ https://t.co/thh8QCG2Yv— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 31, 2017