While running for president, Donald Trump was fond of saying that if he won, he'd "hire the best people" to serve in his administration. Whether he's succeeded in doing that will be for history to judge, but one thing is clear: Over the course of 2017, there was an alarming number of people who were fired from Trump's White House.
Some might note that this is appropriate, given the "you're fired!" catchphrase that Trump popularized on his TV show. However, Trump associates have said that he doesn't actually like firing people face-to-face — and Trump himself confirmed this in an interview with Life Beyond Sport, a men's magazine. Still, the fact of the matter is that an unusually large amount of officials have resigned or been fired from the White House since Trump took office.
The distinction between a firing and a resignation is often blurry. Sometimes reports conflict as to whether an official left voluntarily or on their own accord. In other instances, an official is asked by their superior to resign — raising the legitimate question of whether being "asked to resign" is, in spirit, any different from an actual firing. Adding to the confusion is the fact that, for public relations reasons, a White House will very rarely acknowledge that an employee was fired.
Some of the officials listed below claim to have left the White House on their own accord, while others were widely reported to have been fired. All, however, departed amid some form of internal turmoil.
Trump hired Omarosa, a former Apprentice contestant, to serve as director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison. She kept a somewhat low-profile in the Trump administration, but abruptly left her post in December.
The White House and Omarosa both say that she resigned on her own accord. CNN's April Ryan reported, however, that Omarosa was escorted from the White House premises while spewing obscenities at Trump's staff.
Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci
Anthony Scaramucci, a colorful Wall Street financier with several film production credits under his belt, was the White House communications director for just 10 days in 2017. Scaramucci got himself caught up in a feud with then-White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, and Preibus himself was forced out of the White House in July shortly after Scaramucci was hired (see below).
In a cruel twist of fate, however, Scaramucci himself was then fired by the man who replaced Preibus, Gen. John Kelly.
Preibus was head of the Republican National Committee when Trump hired him to serve as his first chief of staff. But it was always an awkward match, given the Preibus was the exact kind of establishment Republican that Trump spent most of the campaign bashing.
Ultimately, Preibus got on the wrong side of Scaramucci (see above), who told The New Yorker in late July that the chief of staff would be "asked to resign very shortly." Days later, Trump announced that Preibus would be leaving the White House after just six months on the job.
Gen. Mike Flynn
Flynn became the shortest-serving National Security Adviser in U.S. history when Trump gave him the boot just 24 days into the job. Although it was reported at the time that Flynn had resigned, Trump claimed months later to have fired him.
Flynn's departure came after it was reported that, contrary to his public statements, he had spoken to Russia's ambassador to the U.S. about official policy during the presidential transition. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the same thing.
Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary became the subject of controversy when it was reported that he'd spent a lot more taxpayer money on private jets than many people thought was appropriate (around $400,000 to be exact).
Technically, Price resigned; strangely enough, however, he said just one day before his resignation that he "absolutely" planned to stay on the job.
James Comey didn't exactly work in the White House itself, but the Trump administration — and he was certainly fired brutally by Trump. The president gave the FBI director his walking papers in May, days after Comey revealed that that his agency was investigating Trump's campaign for possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, who's said repeatedly that there was "no collusion" between his campaign and the Russian government, later explained that he fired Comey because of "this Russia thing," a comment some legal experts say could be central to an eventual obstruction of justice charge against Trump.
The chief of Breitbart News was the head of Trump's campaign during its last few months, and went on to serve as a top adviser to the president. Although progressives have generally opposed most of Trump's hires, they often expressed a particular loathing for Bannon, due to his views on race and gender, the types of stories he ran while leading Breitbart, and his characterization of Muslim immigration as an "invasion."
In August, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Bannon had resigned, but multiple sources told CNN that he was fired. According to various reports, Trump grew unhappy that Bannon was sometimes perceived as the puppetmaster of Trump, and according to CNN, was specifically upset at Bannon for contradicting his policy on North Korea in an interview with The American Prospect.
Yates worked in Trump's Justice Department, not the White House, but as the first Trump official to get fired, she deserves special mention here. An Obama appointee, Yates was acting attorney general during the first few weeks of Trump's administration.
Trump fired her in January after she wrote a letter explaining that she would not defend Trump's travel ban in court, as she didn't find it to be constitutional. At the time, many compared Trump's firing of Yates to the "Saturday Night Massacre," a string of firings during the Nixon administration that ultimately paved the way for Nixon's resignation.
By no means is this an exhaustive list. At least 15 of Trump's top officials have resigned or been fired, but that doesn't include the scores of low-level officials who've also left the White House. And, this might go without saying, there will likely be many more departures from the White House before this administration is finished.