Trump White House departures (resignations and firings)

[Updated 2 May 2018]
The rapid turnover of senior White House advisors is not normal. According to Axios, this White House has had more first-year departures than any other administration in at least 40 years. From The Atlantic:

According to [Kathryn Dunn] Tenpas’s research, reported by The Wall Street Journal last week, 34 percent of senior officials in the White House have quit, been fired, or been reassigned during Trump’s first year in office—more than double the figure for the next most volatile administration, Ronald Reagan’s, at 17 percent. Clinton had 11, Obama 10, and George W. Bush 6, by Tenpas’s metrics.

The list also includes changes on Trump’s legal defense team.



May 2: Ty Cobb

According to press pool reports, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Trump lawyer Ty Cobb (who represents Trump in the Mueller investigation) is resigning at the end of the month. According to the NY Times, Trump is hiring Emmet Flood, who represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings. Natasha Bertrand (The Atlantic) pointed out on Twitter that Cobb has been the only Trump lawyer with clearance.

April 11: Nadia Schadlow

According to CNN, Nadia Schadlow, US deputy national security adviser for strategy, is resigning at the end of the month.

April 10: Tom Bossert

White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert announced his departure the day after John Bolton assumed the role of national security adviser. Reportedly, Bolton asked Bossert to leave (basically, he was fired). The press secretary said he resigned.

March 29: David Shulkin

Trump fired Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin and announced that he was appointing his physician, Ronny L. Jackson, as the new VA secretary.

March 28: Dr. David J. Shulkin

Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday. He plans to nominate Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, White House physician. If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would be tasked with managing the second largest department in the federal government. Jackson has no experience managing a large bureaucracy. Shulkin was a former hospital executive; Jackson is a Naval rear admiral. Shulkin is the third cabinet member to be fired.

March 22: H.R. McMaster

On Thursday afternoon, Trump announced that John Bolton would replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as National Security Advisor effective April 9th. Although this was framed as a resignation, it is a firing. The Senate does not confirm Bolton’s appointment. Bolton is well-known as a hawk and was instrumental in Bush’s “War in Iraq” (which is still ongoing). Bolton is Trump’s third national security adviser.

March 22: John Dowd

On Thursday morning, Dowd resigned as Trump’s lead lawyer for the Russia investigation. He was the second lawyer to lead the legal defense team. Earlier this week, Trump “hired Joseph E. diGenova, a longtime Washington lawyer who has pushed the theory on Fox News that the F.B.I. and Justice Department framed Mr. Trump.” Update March 24: Trump is not hiring diGenova and his wife after all.

March 20: Johnson Joy

Joy, CIO for Ben Carson’s House and Urban Development (HUD), resigned abruptly on Tuesday and was reportedly escorted out of the building. The Guardian broke the story of his connection “with an opaque religious charity” that he ran with “a colleague who resigned from the administration when the Guardian found he was accused of fraud and exaggerated his biography…. Joy’s departure on Tuesday came as the Guardian was preparing a new article on a complaint filed by Joy’s former executive assistant, which alleged that she was fired from her job because she raised concerns about possible corruption in Joy’s office.”

March 16: Andrew McCabe

The deputy director of the FBI was slated to retire on Sunday; Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him late on Friday night. (February 1, 2016 – March 16, 2018)

March 13: Steven Goldstein

The Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs provided media with statements on Monday morning that contradicted the White House. Trump had him fired.

March 13: Rex Tillerson

Trump announced via Twitter that he was replacing Rex Tillerson as secretary of State. According to a statement from the State Department, Tillerson had not spoken to the president about his dismissal. He is the second cabinet-level adviser to leave the White House; Tom Price was first. (January 20, 2017 – March 13, 2018)

March 12: John McEntee

President Trump’s personal assistant was fired and escorted out of the White House over what was reported to be security-related issues; he was unable to obtain security clearance. He will work on the already-formed 2020 reelection campaign. (January 20, 2017 – March 12, 2018)

March 6: Gary Cohn

The head of the National Economic Council plans to resign from the administration after Trump announced tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum. (January 20, 2017 – ? 2018)

Feb. 28: Hope Hicks

The White House communications director announced her resignation; she was one of Trump’s longest-serving aides. (January 20, 2017 – ? 2018)

Feb. 27: Josh Raffel

The deputy communications director announced his upcoming resignation within the next two months. He joined the White House to be part of Kushner’s Office of American Innovation. In fall 2017, he was promoted to deputy communications director.  (April 5, 2017 – ? 2018)

Feb. 7: Rob Porter

Porter’s resignation as the White House staff secretary came after domestic abuse allegations against him were made public. He was unable to obtain a security clearance. White House officials initially defended Porter, with chief of staff John Kelly calling him a “man of true integrity and honor.” (January 20, 2017 – February 7, 2018)

Jan 31: Brenda Fitzgerald

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned because  “troubling financial investments in tobacco and health care companies” posed conflicts of interest. Alex Azar, newly appointed secretary of Health and Human Services (Tom Price resigned September) “made the decision on his third day running the sprawling H.H.S. agency.”

Jan. 20: Omarosa Manigault Newman

Newman is another woman with a long history with Trump; she was on The Apprentice three times and served as the White House’s Office of Public Liaison communications director. She announced her resignation on December 13.  (January 20 – January 20, 2018)

Jan. 12: Dina Powell

Deputy National Security Adviser with focus on Middle East policy. Her upcoming resignation was announced in December. (January 18, 2017 – January 12, 2018)



Dec. 21: Rick Dearborn

White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn will leave in early 2018. A former campaign aide, he worked with chief of staff John Kelly with a focus on public outreach and legislative affairs.

Sept. 29: Tom Price

The Health and Human Services secretary resigned after news reports that he had spent about $400,000 in private flights while traveling on official business. The HHS Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the matter a week prior to the resignation. He was the first cabinet official to resign. (February 10 – September 29, 2017)

Sept. 16: George Sifakis

George Sifakis, an ally of Priebus and director of the Office of Public Liaison, to resign at the end of this month.

Aug. 25: Sebastian Gorka

Deputy Assistant to the President with emphasis on counterterrorism. (January 20 – August 25, 2017)

Aug. 18: Steve Bannon

Bannon was the White House chief strategist; he left the White House under pressure following violent  and racist clashes in Charlottesville, Va. Bannon said he had resigned two weeks prior. He was CEO of the Trump campaign beginning in August 2016. He has returned to Breitbart News. (January 20 – August 18, 2017)

August: Ezra Cohen-Watnick

Cohen-Watnick was a Flynn hold-over that took McMaster several months to fire.

July 31: Anthony Scaramucci

The foul-mouthed and controversial communications director resigned after 11 days on the job (although his official start date had been July 26) and a profanity-laced telephone conversation with a reporter. On the same day John Kelly took over as chief of staff. (July 21 – July 31, 2017)

July 28: Reince Priebus

In his six-month tenure as chief of staff, Priebus was often criticized by Trump loyalists. (January 20 – July 23, 2017).

July 27: Derek Harvey

National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster fired Harvey, a Flynn holdover. He was the the top Middle East advisor on the National Security Council (NSC).

July 25: Michael Short

The senior assistant press secretary, an ally of Priebus, resigned after Scaramucci said he was going to fire him for allegedly leaking information to the press.

July 21: Sean Spicer

The press secretary resigned after Trump ignored advice to hire Scaramucci as his new communications director. (January 20 – July 21, 2017)

July 20: Marc Kasowitz

Kasowitz “is out” as the head of Trump’s legal defense team for the Russian investigation. He had represented Trump since the early 2000s. Washington lawyer Ty Cobb runs the official White House official response to the investigation. Jay Sekulow and John Dowd represent Trump personally.

July 6: Walter Shaub

The director of the Office of Government Ethics was critical of the Administration before announcing his resignation. (January 9, 2013 – July 6, 2017)

May 30: Mike Dubke

Trump’s first communications director. (March 6 – May 30, 2017)

May 9: James Comey

Trump fired the FBI director. The White House initially said the FBI director’s firing was based on the Justice Department’s recommendation. Subsequently, Trump asserted he had considered firing Comey even without that recommendation. Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8. (September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017)

May 5: Angella Reid

The chief usher was fired for unstated reasons; it is unusual for a chief usher to be dismissed and they typically hold their positions across several administrations. Reid is black. (October 4, 2011 – May 5, 2017)

April 22: Vivek Murthy

Murthy had been confirmed as surgeon general under Obama. Trump fired him on April 22.

April 9: KT McFarland

Deputy National Security Adviser. (January 20 – April 9, 2017)

March 30: Katie Walsh

White House Deputy Chief of Staff. (January 20 – March 30, 2017)

March 10: Preet Bharara

Trump told the U.S. attorney, Southern District of New York, that he was keep his job. He was subsequently fired after refusing to take a phone call from the president.

Feb. 13: Michael Flynn

The national security adviser came under fire after news reports surfaced that he had misled officials, including Vice President Pence, about his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. He resigned shortly afterward. Flynn has been part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. (January 20 – February 13, 2017)

Jan. 30: Sally Yates

The acting attorney general, after nearly three decades in a career with the Department of Justice, refused to defend the first iteration of Trump’s travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries. He fired her.


A tally (but who’s counting?)

  1. Sally Yates
  2. Michael Flynn
  3. Preet Bharara
  4. Katie Walsh
  5. KT McFarland
  6. Vivek Murthy
  7. Angella Reid
  8. James Comey
  9. Mike Dubke
  10. Walter Shaub
  11. Sean Spicer
  12. Michael Short
  13. Derek Harvey
  14. Reince Priebus
  15. Anthony Scaramucci
  16. Ezra Cohen-Watnick
  17. Steve Bannon
  18. Sebastian Gorka
  19. George Sifakis
  20. Tom Price
  21. Rick Dearborn
  22. Dina Powell
  23. Omarosa Manigault Newman
  24. Brenda Fitzgerald
  25. Rob Porter
  26. Josh Raffel
  27. Hope Hicks
  28. Gary Cohn
  29. John McEntee
  30. Rex Tillerson
  31. Steven Goldstein
  32. Andrew McCabe
  33. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
  34. David Shulkin
  35. Tom Bossert
  36. Nadia Schadlow
  37. Ty Cobb