Friend of Anthony Scaramucci threatens Reince Priebus, feuds with CNN's Jake Tapper

Elias Hubbard
July 31, 2017

President Donald Trump has ousted his White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and named his homeland security secretary, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, to replace him, the president announced Friday afternoon on Twitter.

In an interview with CNN's "State of the Union", the Maine Republican disputed the Scaramucci blast at former chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon was simply "colorful", or a outcome of his misplaced trust in a reporter.

After frequent conversations with Kelly, Trump recently warmed up to the idea of naming Kelly chief of staff to more effectively manage personnel and offered it to him earlier this week, a senior White House official said.

Priebus had been a frequent target of rumours about his job security amid infighting and confusion within the White House.

Priebus' 189-day tenure was the shortest in modern history for a White House chief of staff. "I want to congratulate John Kelly, who has done an incredible job of secretary of homeland security", the president said.

He also saluted Priebus, the chief of staff he had just pushed out.

Republican insiders said they expect Trump to bring his campaign team into the White House now. The recent changes make Priebus the second victim of the power struggle with the designation of Scaramucci as communications director which led Press Secretary Sean Spicer to resign.

- Jordan Fabian and Ben Kamisar contributed. He praised what he said was a "guy from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who revitalised the Republican National Committee and became White House chief of staff. I support him in that", said Priebus in an interview after the announcement. Trumps' already-manic tweeting reached new highs (or lows depending on your view) as he repeatedly went after his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

TODD: Given that Reince Priebus and the president weren't always very close, you were - you had a front row seat to that at times. "He has been a true star of my Administration".

Trump's threat to replace US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also set off a revolt among Republican senators, who have warned the president not to fire their former colleague. That victory helped catapult Priebus to the head of the Republican National Committee, putting him in place to oversee Trump's surprise win in November.

Priebus was also subjected to profane public rebuke by Scaramucci.

For President Donald Trump, the rigid contours of White House management structures - so engrained they're reflected in the building's blueprints - have never meant much.

Some speculated Scaramucci was being groomed to take over for Priebus after Trump made it clear he would not be reporting to the chief of staff, as is the tradition.

Though Priebus had told allies he hoped to stay, many around Trump had been working on his departure for quite some time.

The move likely signals a greater focus on law and order issues and will put further strain on relations between Trump and the Republican establishment. "John Kelly will do a fantastic job".

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, a frequent Trump critic, welcomed Kelly as "one of the strongest and most natural leaders I've ever known".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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