On Friday, Sean Spicer became the latest casualty of the Donald Trump presidency, as the White House press secretary resigned protesting a major shake-up of Trump's scandal-tainted administration, even as pressure mounted from a broadening investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.
Spicer quit after Trump named Anthony Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and one-time critic, as the new White House communications director — a role Spicer had eyed for himself. Spicer was then replaced by deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Spicer's resignation marked an escalation of tension within an administration that has seen its legislative agenda falter at the same time it was buffeted by an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia.
Immediately after this came another blow, when Mark Corallo — who was coordinating the Trump legal team's public response to the Russia crisis — told AFP that he, too, had stepped down.
These are the latest in a long line of resignations and firings that have marked the six months of the Trump presidency. Here's a complete list:
The spate of firings started as early as Day 10 of the Trump administration, when Trump fired Sally Yates. Yates, the acting attorney general, was a holdover from the Barack Obama administration, but she earned Trump's ire, a little over a week after Trump taking charge, after she ordered justice department attorneys not to defend his controversial executive order on immigration and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The White House also called Yates "weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration", and said by not enforcing the order, she had "betrayed the Department of Justice".
Two weeks later, on 14 February, Michael Flynn's increasingly worrisome relationship with Russian officials cost the National Security Advisor his job. Flynn was fired after it was revealed that he had lied to Vice-President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia. In his resignation letter, Flynn said he held numerous calls with the Russian ambassador to Washington during the transition, and gave "incomplete information" about those discussions to Pence.
On 11 March, Trump asked then US attorney general Jeff Sessions to ask 46 US attorneys to resign, among whom was Preet Bharara, an Indian-American lawyer known for his crusades against corruption. He refused to quit, following which he was fired. Though the decision to fire Bharara was met with shock in several circles, the White House called it "standard operating procedure". "This is a standard operating procedure for a new administration around this time to ask for the resignation of all the US attorneys," the White House said.
The period after Bharara's firing could have been among the calmest in the Trump presidency — there wasn't another firing for another two months! However, the next name on the list is perhaps the most high-profile of them all — FBI Director James Comey, who was investigating links of the Trump administration and his election campaign team with Moscow. His successor has yet not been named. In a letter to Comey, who was often lauded for his independence, Trump said that the dismissal was necessary to restore the public's trust and confidence.
The next person out of Trump's revolving door was Mike Dubke, who resigned as the White House communications director on 30 May. Dubke, a veteran Republican Party strategist, offered no reasons for his resignation, and the transition was conducted without any acrimony. "It has been my great honour to serve president Trump and this administration. It has also been my distinct pleasure to work side-by-side, day-by-day with the staff of the communications and press departments," Dubke wrote in an email.
The list doesn't as yet include Sessions himself, who was once very close to Trump but their relations have soured in recent weeks. After Sessions recused himself from investigations into Trump's alleged ties with the Kremlin, Trump said he wished he had never hired him. "How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, 'Thanks, Jeff, but I'm not going to take you,'" Trump told The New York Times.
"I think (it) is very unfair to the president," Trump said. "It's extremely unfair, and that's a mild word, to the president."
And though Sessions initially appeared determined to stay on, it would be to nobody's surprise if the next name on this list is his.
Updated Date: Jul 24, 2017 17:25:58 IST