President Donald Trump, who has reportedly been isolated and frustrated by the negative coverage engulfing his administration in recent days, may be considering a major reorganization of his White House staff, according to an Axios report from Mike Allen on Sunday.
Trump is said to have been furious at his communications team — led by Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Communications Director Michael Dubke — for what he has characterised as their failure to defend his decision to fire former FBI director James Comey, The New York Times reported Friday.
However, Trump kept Spicer and the communications team in the dark regarding his decision to fire Comey until the last possible moment, according to The Times.
Regardless, Trump seems to be considering a sweeping shakeup of his West Wing staff in the wake of the media firestorm that followed his abrupt decision to fire Comey — the man who was overseeing an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
After Comey was fired, the White House scrambled to get an official statement out. Initially, they said that Trump’s decision had nothing to do with the Russia probe and was based entirely upon the recommendation of deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and attorney general Jeff Sessions.
The next day, however, Trump said he had been considering firing Comey for a while, and that Rosenstein’s memo had sealed the deal. Later, Trump again shifted his rhetoric, saying that he had already decided to fire Comey before he got Rosenstein’s memo.
The resulting media chaos reportedly threw the White House into turmoil, as aides and surrogates worked to craft a message around the president’s evolving statements to the media.
As his staff continues to manage fallout from Comey’s firing, among the people Trump is most upset at are chief of staff Reince Priebus, Dubke, and Spicer, according to the Times report, which cited six West Wing officials.
Trump is specifically eyeing a crackdown on his communications team over anger at the number of leaks that have been spilling out of the White House. Axios added that chief strategist Steve Bannon and White House counsel Don McGahn may be among those who are replaced.
Trump is “frustrated, and angry at everyone,” one source told Axios, and said that the president is also upset with Cabinet officials, like commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, attorney general Jeff Sessions, and health and human services secretary Tom Price.
Trump’s confidants have reportedly been pointing out to him that his approval ratings are not seeing any improvement — as of Saturday, the president has a 56% disapproval rating and a 39% approval rating, according to Gallup.
Regarding potential shakeups of his staff, one source told Axios, “the advice he’s getting is to go big — that he has nothing to lose. The question now is how big and how bold. I’m not sure he knows the answer to that yet.”
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