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A look at the Trump administration’s revolving door

Of the Trump administration members pictured in this January photo, only Vice President Mike Pence remains.Andrew Harnik/Associated press

Consider it a Bluth family motto for the West Wing: There’s always a job at the White House.

That’s because in the 24 or so months since President Trump took office, more than 30 people have left the administration — whether they resigned, forcibly resigned, or were fired.

But, as news outlets have reported, Trump doesn’t like getting his hands dirty. Perhaps that’s why the man who became famous off the phrase “You’re fired” has only fired a few himself since his term began, often opting instead to make others do the dirty work — or shaming those he wants out into quitting.


Here are the staff members who have walked in through the administration’s revolving door, as well as the dates it was announced they would be walking out.

Patrick Kennedy — Jan. 25, 2017

The former undersecretary for management and longtime State Department official, Patrick Kennedy resigned just a few days after Trump’s inauguration, leaving behind a role he had held since 2007. At least two other top officials in the State Department left alongside him.

Michael Flynn — Feb. 13, 2017

General Michael Flynn resigned as Trump’s national security advisor just three weeks into his administration. Trump and the White House claim that Flynn was forced out because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Preet Bharara — March 11, 2017

The former US attorney’s firing came as a surprise to himself and allies alike because Trump, as then-president-elect Trump, had asked Bharara to stay on. In early March, Bharara was one of 46 US attorneys originally appointed by former president Barack Obama who were asked to resign.

Boris Epshteyn — March 25, 2017


Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump campaign surrogate who joined the White House to lead its TV surrogate operations, was the third resignation and fourth departure overall. He eventually found a home with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a Trump-friendly TV conglomerate.

Katie Walsh — March 30, 2017

Trump’s deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, a Reince Priebus ally, left the West Wing to work for “American First Policies,” an outside pro-Trump group. Walsh left in the wake of the first House of Representatives health care bill debacle, when US House Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull the bill from the floor.

Angella Reid — May 5, 2017

It was early May when the White House fired the first woman and second African-American to hold the position of chief usher. Angella Reid’s firing was seen as unusual — chief usher is a job that tends to involve a long tenure. Reid previously worked for the Ritz-Carlton hotel group and joined the White House in 2011 under Obama.

James Comey — May 9, 2017

Former FBI director James Comey was abruptly fired in May — not at the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as was initially said, but because, as the president told NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump was planning it anyway. During the interview, Trump called Comey a “grandstander.”

John Thompson — May 10, 2017

Census Bureau Director John Thompson resigned suddenly mid-spring, leaving the agency just as it contended with a funding crisis for the decennial 2020 count. Thompson worked for the bureau for 27 years and served as director since 2013. Thompson’s five-year term was due to expire in December, but he had been expected to stay on through the end of the year.


Michael Dubke — May 30, 2017

Dubke actually resigned as White House communications director on May 18, but he hung around to manage communications during Trump’s foreign trip.

Walter Shaub — July 6, 2017

As the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub was expected to finish out his five-year term in January. Instead, he resigned in early summer. According to the New York Times, Shaub saw “little chance of renewal” and had “an appealing offer in hand from a nonpartisan advocacy group” when he left.

Sean Spicer — July 21, 2017

It took six months and a day to find press secretary Sean Spicer’s red line, but there it was. Spicer resigned in protest after Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as the White House communications director. Spicer’s resignation ended a rocky tenure that made his news briefings defending Trump must-see TV.

Reince Priebus — July 28, 2017

Trump’s former chief of staff was abruptly pushed out and replaced with General John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security and a Brighton native. His leave came at the end of a feud with Scaramucci, who had made his distaste for Priebus clear, hinting publicly that he believed Priebus had leaked information to reporters.


Anthony Scaramucci — July 31, 2017

Well, that didn’t take long. . . at all. White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was removed just 10 days after his hiring was announced (and 15 days before his official start date) at John Kelly’s request. The White House wished Scaramucci “all the best” and said the staff change was to give Kelly “a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.’’

Steve Bannon — Aug. 18, 2017

After months of speculation that chief strategist Steve Bannon was on his way out, the former Breitbart leader was shown the door courtesy of Kelly. In a statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders said, “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” Having lasted seven months (or, by one Twitter user’s count, 21 Scaramuccis), Bannon’s time in the White House was marked by deep scorn from establishment officials and others who saw the right-wing populist as amplifying the president’s most controversial nationalist impulses.

Sebastion Gorka — Aug. 25, 2017

The White House national security aide was allegedly forced out, according to the New York Times. His resignation came shortly after John Kelly was moved to White House chief of staff and during a string of depatures in late summer.

Chuck Rosenberg — Sept. 26, 2017


The acting head of the DEA, having “grown disillusioned with Trump,” announced his intent to resign at the end of September. Rosenberg, who was bothered by Trump’s comments regarding the treatment of suspects, praised DEA employees in a message.

“I will continue to root for you, now from the sidelines,” he said.

Tom Price — Sept. 29, 2017

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned after he had faced continuing questions over his use of private charter flights on official business at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars.

When asked about the situation hours before the announcement, Trump called Price a “fine man,” but said he wasn’t happy about the reports.

“I certainly don’t like the optics,” Trump said, according to a White House pool report. “I’m not happy, I can tell you that. I’m not happy.”

Trump had also privately been telling associates that Price had become a distraction, overshadowing his agenda and undermining his campaign promise to ‘‘drain the swamp’’ of corruption, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Omarosa Manigault Newman — Dec. 13, 2017

Former “Apprentice” star and White House aide Omarosa Manigualt Newman departed the White House in mid-December “to pursue other opportunities,” according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.

She had been tapped to lead communications for the White House Office of Public Liasion, but struggled amid a number of distractions, according to the New York Times, which described her as a “disruptive force” and was barred by former chief of staff Reince Priebus from some White House meetings.

The Times also reported Newman was escorted off the White House grounds, which she denies.

Rob Porter — Feb. 7, 2018

White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned after allegations of spousal abuse by two former wives were made public.

Porter, who was tasked with managing the flow of documents reaching the president’s desk, called the allegations “false.”

The resignation set off a controversy about the what top White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, knew about Porter’s past when he was hired.

David Sorensen — Feb. 9, 2018

White House speechwriter David Sorensen, like Porter, left the Trump administration over domestic violence claims made by his ex-wife that were then reported to FBI during his background check. Sorensen, who worked closely with senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, denied the accusations, claiming he had ‘‘never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life.’’ Ex-wife Jessica Corbett provided The Washington Post with text messages and e-mails corroborating the abuse, including “a photo of her hand bearing a scar she said was from the cigarette burn.”

Sorensen’s resignation, a mere two days after Porter’s, drew further questions about the White House’s handling of security clearances as well as about Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Hope Hicks — Feb. 28, 2018

Communications director Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, abruptly announced her resignation a day after she sat with House Intelligence Committee investigators for an hours-long interview.

Hicks was the fourth communications director to leave the post since Trump took office in January 2017.

Hicks joined Trump’s staff before he announced his run for president.

Gary Cohn — March 6, 2018

The president’s top economic adviser resigned in early March after deeply disagreeing with Trump’s plan to implement steel and aluminum tariffs. Cohn’s departure rang alarm bells in a White House fraught with vacancies and investigations, yet the president insists it’s a place of ‘‘no chaos, only great energy.’’

Cohn is alleged to have written a resignation letter before, in the wake of the president’s comments on Charlottesville.

Rex Tillerson — March 13, 2018

Trump fired his secretary of state via Twitter, replacing him with CIA Director and former Tea Party movement congressman Mike Pompeo. Tillerson allegedly learned of the firing after an aide showed him the president’s tweet announcing the staff change.

Tillerson never developed a close relationship with the president and reportedly called Trump a “moron” in a meeting with colleagues at the Pentagon.

Andrew McCabe — March 16,2018

With just two days to go before his scheduled retirement, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired in a late Friday night dismissal. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he fired McCabe on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials and it came ahead of an inspector general report that was expected to conclude that McCabe had authorized the release of information to the news media and had not been forthcoming with the watchdog office as it examined the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation.

McCabe immediately called his firing a part of the Trump administration’s ‘‘war on the FBI.’’

Hours after McCabe’s termination, Trump attacked him on Twitter.

H.R. McMaster — March 22, 2018

Trump announced McMaster’s departure via Twitter, naming former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton as his replacement and listing April 9 as the date for the official handover.

It had been rumored for weeks that the respected three-star general was on his way out and it was reported that the White House has been seeking a graceful excit for the president’s national security adviser.

In his announcement, Trump praised McMaster and said he had done ‘‘an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.’’

In a statement released by the White House, McMaster said he would be requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer, adding that afterward he ‘‘will leave public service.’’

David Shulkin — March 23, 2018

Turning to his favorite social media tool, President Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin via tweet, replacing him with Ronny Jackson, an active-duty rear admiral in the Navy who has served for the past three administrations as a White House physician.

Embroiled in scandal over his charging taxpayers for luxury travel expenses and the infighting among his senior aides, Shulkin’s record as secretary is mixed.

After his termination, Shulkin published an opinion piece in the New York Times in which he claimed he was fired because he was “an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed.”

Thomas Bossert — April 10, 2018

President Trump’s homeland security adviser was forced out, according to the New York Times, shortly after John Bolton was named national security adviser.

Scott Pruitt — July 5, 2018

Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, resigned on July 5, according to a tweet from President Trump.

Pruitt has been under fire for months over a steady stream of reports detailing conflict-of-interest issues and other problemsmost notably an apparent sweetheart deal with the wife of a lobbyist who rented Pruitt a condo on Capitol Hill for $50 a night.

Nikki Haley — October 9, 2018

Nikki Haley, Trump’s UN ambassador, announced that she would be stepping down from her position at the end of the year. Haley said her two years as UN ambassador, as well as her six years as South Carolina governor, meant that she had experienced eight years of very intense work, and that she was leaving her post so that someone else could step in.

“I think you need to be selfless enough to know when to step aside,” she said in a White House press conference alongside Trump.

Jeff Sessions — November 7, 2018

The day after the 2018 midterm elections, Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at Trump’s request.

The attorney general had endured more than a year of stinging and personal criticism from Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation.

Sessions’ own chief of staff was named the acting attorney general.

James Mattis — December 20, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned after clashing with President Donald Trump over the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and after two years of deep disagreements over America’s role in the world.

John Kelly — December 31, 2018

John Kelly, the retired Marine general tapped as chief of staff by President Trump last year to bring order to his chaotic White House, departed at the end of December 2018. Kelly’s departure left Trump with an ever-shrinking team of close advisers as he was set to navigate the new power structure on Capitol Hill as Democrats assume control of the House.

Ryan Zinke — December 31, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, facing federal investigations into his travel, political activity and potential conflicts of interest, is leaving the administration at the end of 2018. In his resignation letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Zinke said ‘‘vicious and politically motivated attacks’’ against him had ‘‘created an unfortunate distraction’’ in fulfilling the agency’s mission.

Kirstjen Nielsen — April 7, 2019

Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, resigned on April 7th after meeting with President Trump, ending a tumultuous tenure in charge of the border security agency that had made her the target of the president’s criticism. Nielsen had been pressured by Trump to be more aggressive in stemming the influx of migrant crossings at the border, people familiar with their discussions in recent months told the New York Times.

Sarah Sanders — June 13, 2019

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, announced she would leave the the Trump administration after a turbulent tenure marked by attacks on the media, dissemination of false information, and the near-disappearance of the daily press briefing.

Alex Acosta — July 12, 2019

President Trump announced Labor Secretary Alex Acosta’s departure in a morning appearance together on the South Lawn, telling reporters that his labor secretary had chosen to step down a day after defending himself in a contentious news conference over his role as a US attorney a decade ago in a deal with Jeffrey Epstein that allowed the financier to plead guilty to lesser offenses in a sex-crimes case involving underage girls.

Dan Coats — July 28, 2019

President Trump announced the departure of Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, after a turbulent two years in which Coats and the president were often at odds over Russian interference in the 2016 election.

John Bolton — September 12, 2019

President Donald Trump forced out John Bolton, his third national security adviser, with whom he had significant disagreements on Iran, Afghanistan and a cascade of other global challenges. The two men offered opposing accounts on Bolton’s less than friendly departure, a leave-taking example of what had been a fractious relationship almost from the start.

Note: the number of officials around Trump would be even higher if the listing included officials like John Dowd, who served as the president’s personal lawyer but did not work in the administration, as well as White House staffers like Josh Raffel who was linked to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report. Felicia Gans of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Aimee Ortiz can be reached at aimee.ortiz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @aimee_ortiz.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the title of Paul Ryan. He is US House Speaker.