- Trump’sWhite House has seen a number of high-profile departures since the earliest days of the administration.
- Scott Pruitt, Gary Cohn, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Hope Hicks, and Steve Bannon are only a few of the people who have left.
- Some Trump administration alumni have gone back to their roots, while others have embarked on totally new ventures.
President Donald Trump’s White House has a doozy of a turnover rate.
The Brookings Institution reports that 62% of top-level White House positions – excluding the cabinet – have seen turnover under Trump as of December 2018. Nine cabinet members have also left the administration in Trump’s first two years of office, the same number of secretaries who left Obama’s cabinet throughout his eight year term.
Some of these top advisers were fired. Other officials decided to leave on their own, for various reasons. For example, chief of staff John Kelly recently announced his intent to resign after months of conflict and strife between him and Trump.
Either way, many commentators have pointed out that sieve-like nature of the White House seems to speak to a turbulent environment. That’s a characterization which Trump himself has disputed. “There is no Chaos, only great Energy!” he tweeted.
So what happens to the people who leave? What sort of roles have Trump administration alumni been able to pick up once they exit the White House?
It’s too early to tell for most recent departures, like Kelly and Jeff Sessions. Former officials like Reince Priebus and Dina Powell have returned to their private sector roots. And still others are embarking on totally new ventures.
Here’s a look at where all of the White House’s high-profile departures are today, from most to least recent departures:
Jeff Sessions is out as attorney general.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation on November 7 after nearly two years in the position, with Trump announcing that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ Chief of Staff,would serve as acting attorney general.
Trump had frequently lambasted Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty,” Trump told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. “He was an original supporter.” Trump lamented that he “put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department.”
While Sessions has not announced his future plans, both Politico and Fox News reported he’s eyeing a 2020 run for his old US Senate seat in Alabama, currently held by Democrat Doug Jones, who was elected in a December 2017 special election.
Don McGahn’s next move is unclear
Former White House counsel Don McGahn left the administration in late October following a turbulent 21 months in the White House.
The New York Times reported in August that McGahn voluntarily gave 30 hours of testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice as President.
It’s not clear what McGahn, a former partner at Washington DC corporate law firm Jones Day and Federal Election Commission commissioner, will do next.
Scott Pruitt was in talks to consult to coal mining companies.
Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in July amid several federal ethics investigations into his lavish spending habits, his suspected conflicts of interests with lobbyists, and for reportedly enlisting his official government staff to carry out his personal errands.
In September, The New York Times reported that Pruitt was in talks to take on a new role independently consulting for Kentucky-based coal mining company Alliance Resource Partners, whose chief executive is a Republican donor.
While all Trump administration officials are bound to ethics pledges to not lobby for special interests within five years of leaving their government job, Pruitt’s proposed consulting firm would reportedly not involve improper lobbying.
Tom Bossert is an ABC News analyst.
Bossert, Trump’s former Homeland Security adviser, was fired by national security adviser John Bolton almost immediately after Bolton joined the administration.
He worked closely with former national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, and was reportedly a close ally of chief of staff John Kelly. McMaster has already left the administration and Kelly will depart at the end of this year.
Bossert is now an ABC News homeland security analyst.
David Shulkin runs his own consulting firm.
Shulkin, the former Secretary of Veterans affairs, resigned after a inspector general investigation in February alleged that he used $US122,000 of taxpayer money on a trip to Europe with his wife and that he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he now runs his own consulting firm, Shulkin Solutions, which “works with leading healthcare organisations and companies to foster innovation and improve well being for patients.”
H.R. McMaster retired from the military and is a visiting fellow at Stanford.
Gen. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, was replaced by John Bolton in April.
McMaster’s time in the White House was tumultuous and marked by disputes with Trump, as well as other senior administration officials.
While some reports indicated McMaster would take a new position in the Pentagon, he ended up retiring from the military altogether.
He’s now a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute and a lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Rex Tillerson got dumped by Trump.
After a rocky tenure, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was booted from Trump’s Cabinet in March.
Observers have pointed out that the ouster occurred one day after Tillerson pointed the finger at Russia for the chemical attack against a Russian double agent in Britain. Trump hasn’t released a statement on the attack, and the White House has refused to explicitly blame Russia.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo now leads the State Department.
While Tillerson has largely stayed out of the spotlight, he recently let loose with his thoughts on Trump while speaking at a fundraiser in Houston, calling Trump “undisciplined” – and saying the president frequently asked him to break the law.
“Mike Pompeo is doing a great job, I am very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed,” Trump hit back on Twitter.
“He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough,” Trump added. “He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ballgame, great spirit at State!”
Gary Cohn is advising a blockchain startup.
Gary Cohn’s resignation from his post as director of the National Economic Council came after he failed to convince the president to nix his plans for implementing steel and aluminium tariffs.
Bloomberg spoke to a number of business leaders about what Cohn might try his hand at next. Suggestions included teaming up with Elon Musk on SpaceX, building an entirely new business, writing a tell-all, and just relaxing for six months.
In September, the New York Post reported that some Wells Fargo board members approached Cohn about becoming the scandal-plagued bank’s next CEO, but Cohn declined the offer.
In October, Cohn joined the financial tech startup Spring Labs as an adviser. Spring Labs uses blockchain technology to enable banks to easily and securely share consumer credit data.
“I have been very interested in blockchain technology for a number of years, and Spring Labs is developing a network that could have profound implications for the financial services sector, among others,” Cohn said.
Hope Hicks is a senior executive at Fox News.
Reports of White House communications director Hope Hicks’imminent departure broke at the end of February 2018. Hicks, a former model who came into the Trump orbit by doing public relations for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line and the Trump Organisation, was long been considered one of Trump’s closest confidants.
Hicks now oversees communications and PR for Fox News, Fox Sports, and Fox Business – the components of the Fox franchise not sold to Disney.
Rob Porter — who was accused of physical abuse by his two ex-wives — hasn’t updated his LinkedIn since leaving the White House.
Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s February 2018 resignation came in the wake of a firestorm sparked by allegations of physical abuse.
One of his ex-wives, Colbie Holderness, provided the Daily Mail with photos of a black eye she said her then-husband gave her.
It’s not clear what Porter is doing now. His LinkedIn profile has been taken down since his resignation from his White House role.
Dina Powell went back to Goldman Sachs.
Top national security official Dina Powell resigned from the White House in December 2017.
She was subsequently invited to become a senior fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Powell returned to Goldman Sachs as part of the company’s influential management committee. Before she joined the White House team, she was a managing director and partner at the financial institution.
She was floated as a potential replacement for outgoing US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, but withdrew herself from consideration.
Andrew McCabe was originally supposed to retire in March.
Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March – just a day before he would have reached pension eligibility. McCabe had stepped down from his role as deputy direction in January and gone on paid leave.
McCabe, a 21-year veteran of the bureau was forced out of the FBI amid an internal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into his approval of unauthorised disclosures to the media in October 2016 related to the bureau’s Hillary Clinton email probe.
It’s not clear what McCabe has been up to since leaving his government role.
Omarosa Manigault Newman wrote a tell-all
Omarosa Manigault Newman left her position as Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House in December 2017. A number of dramatic stories describing her firing circulated in the wake of her departure.
But Vanity Fair declared the former Trump staffer to be “one of the most successful Trump exiles yet.” She’s now on the reality television show “Celebrity Big Brother.”
Manigault Newman also came back into the spotlight in Summer 2018 to promote her book “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”
Aside from releasing a tape she recorded of Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her in Trump’s situation room, Maginault Newman made a number of claims against members of the administration.
She said tapes of Trump using the n-word on the set of “The Apprentice” do indeed exist, that Trump had advance knowledge of WikiLeaks releasing hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and that she walked in on him eating paper in the Oval Office.
Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders vehemently denied Maginault Newman’s claims, with Trump calling her a “dog” who “cried and begged” for a job.
Tom Price still has political supporters in Georgia.
Former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price has returned to the medical world, joining the advisory board of Georgia-based Jackson Healthcare in the wake of his September 2017 dismissal from the Trump administration. Price was an orthopaedic surgeon for years before he entered the world of politics.
But a career in politics might still be in the cards for Price.
A New Yorker story reported that many of Price’s former constituents in Georgia still favoured the politician, despite revelations that his flights on private and military planes racked up costs of over $US1 million.
Sebastian Gorka has a gig on Fox News.
Controversial Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka departed the White House in August 2017, in the wake of his ally Steve Bannon’s ouster.
Gorka’s expertise in the field of national security was widely called into question by academics, Business Insider’s Pamela Engel reported.
Still, Gorka has since landed a number of post-White House roles.
He’s now a consultant and lecturer at the Heritage Foundation, a national security analyst at Fox News, and a non-resident scholar at the Institute of World Politics.
Steve Bannon is out at Breitbart and planning a comeback.
Even after leaving the White House in August 2017, it was widely reported that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon would continue to wield influence over the president through the far-right website Breitbart News. Bannon co-founded the site, and served as its executive chairman.
However, when it was revealed that Bannon had made disparaging remarks about Trump in the book “Fire and Fury,” he was ousted from Breitbart in January 2018. Reports indicated that Rebekah Mercer, a right-wing donor and longtime Breitbart supporter, had forced him out.
Bannon has since launched a foundation called The Movement to support far-right political parties and candidates in Europe.
He was set to be interviewed at the annual New Yorker festival in summer of 2018, until an onslaught of online backlash prompted the organisers to cancel his appearance. He also campaigned for Republican candidates running in the 2018 midterms.
Anthony Scaramucci is managing director of his own investment firm.
Anthony Scaramucci’s brief stint at White House Communications director ended July 31, 2017.
He’s gone on to launch a digital venture called the Scaramucci Post, and is the managing director of his own investment firm, Skybridge Capital.
The Hill reported thatScaramucci has said, “We have no idea what the Scaramucci Post is and neither do you. But, we launched it today and we launched with great fanfare and so we’ll have to see how the whole thing unfolds.”
The Scaramucci Post’s Twitter feed has since focused on the topic of the American opioid epidemic, posting articles on the crisis and interacting with those affected by the issue.
Scaramucci also wrote a book about Trump, “The Blue Collar President.” He recently stopped by Business Insider to discuss the book, his thoughts on the Trump administration, and the stock market with Insider Inc. CEO Henry Blodget.
Reince Priebus went back to private practice.
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus submitted his resignation in July 2017.
After leaving the Trump administration, Priebus returned to his roots. He became the president and chief strategist for national law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Earlier in his career, Priebus had become a partner at the firm in 2006.
Sean Spicer wrote a book.
Sean Spicer’s most notable post-White House moment came about when he made a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards.
He also wrote a book about the White House, titled “The Briefing: Politics, the Press, and the President,” and went on media and book tours to promote it. The book, which described Trump as a “unicorn riding a unicorn across a rainbow,” was not especially well-received by critics.
ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl wrote a scathing review of the memoir. “Mr. Spicer’s book is much like his tenure as press secretary: short, littered with inaccuracies and offering up one consistent theme: Mr. Trump can do no wrong,”Karl wrote in the Wall Street Journal.
Michael Dubke now sits on the board of two conservative organisations.
After serving as the White House communications director for three months, Michael Dubke resigned in May 2017.
Dubke is still a partner at the Black Rock Group. His biography states that Dubke sits on the board of the Franklin Center for Public Policy Exchange, a news organisation with a free market bent. He also sits on the board of the Ripon Society, a conservative public policy organisation.
Walter Shaub has become a vocal critic of the Trump administration.
Former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub resigned in July 2017, saying that the Trump administration was “close to a laughingstock” and calling for tighter ethics regulations.
Shaub has continued to blast the White House, telling the Guardian that Trump’s administration runs the risk of being seen as a “kleptocracy” over perceived conflicts of interest.
Shaub is now a senior advisor at the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
James Comey is teaching a course at the College of William and Mary and wrote a book.
Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017shook the political world.
Since then, Comey has given a series of lectures at Howard University, a historically black university. He’s now slated to teach a course on ethical leadership at the College of William and Mary, his alma mater.
Comey published a book on the same topic: “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”
He’s also become more politically active, donating to Democratic congressional candidates and expressing his hopes that Trump’s 2020 opponent will achieve a “landslide” win.
“All of us should use every breath we have to make sure the lies stop on January 20, 2021,” Comey recently told an audience in New York City.
“I understand the Democrats have important debates now over who their candidate should be,” he said, “but they have to win. They have to win.”
Michael Flynn has accepted a plea deal from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Michael Flynn’s post-White House career has been a troubled one. The former national security adviser has been at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign, ever since he submitted his resignation in February 2017.
On December 1, 2017, he plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak as part of a plea bargain. He’s since been forced to sell his house to pay for legal bills, the New York Post reported.
In late November, Mueller’s team submitted a sentencing memo recommending a sentence “at the low end of the range,” including no jail time, for Flynn. The memo said Flynn met with the special counsel’s office 19 times, and provided “substantial assistance.”
Sally Yates became a lecturer at Georgetown Law School.
Acting attorney general Sally Yates was dismissed in January 2017, after refusing to enact Trump’s controversial temporary executive order on refugees and immigration.
Preet Bharara lectures at NYU and interviews prominent guests on his weekly podcast.
In a controversial move, the Trump administration dismissed US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara after he refused to resign.
Bharara had previously been personally asked to stay on by Trump. Then, Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent out a letter demanding he and 45 other US Attorneys resign.
After his termination, Bharara became a distinguished scholar in residence at NYU Law. He’s also launched a highly successful weekly podcast “Stayed Tuned with Preet.” Some of Bharara’s high-profile interviews include talks with Rep. Adam Schiff, Judd Apatow, and Sen. Jeff Flake.
Katie Walsh is an RNC adviser.
The former White House deputy chief of staff resigned on March 30, 2017. Katie Walsh took on advisory roles at the Republican National Committee and the pro-Trump political group America First Policies.
But Bloomberg reported that her two post-White House roles were put in jeopardy when it was revealed that she was quoted in Michael Wolff’s bombshell “Fire and Fury.”
America First Policies president Brian Walsh told the Daily Caller that there were no plans to remove Walsh.
Jeremy Berke contributed reporting.
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