Priebus Ousted as White House Chief of Staff; Trump Names Homeland Security Secretary Kelly Replacement

WASHINGTON -- Reince Priebus, the establishment Republican-turned-loyalist to President Trump who served as his White House chief of staff for the last six months, was pushed out on Friday in the latest convulsion in a chaos-wracked West Wing to which he had repeatedly failed to bring some semblance of order.Convinced that Priebus was not strong enough, Mr. Trump has been talking about bringing in "a general" as chief of staff and chose John F. Kelly, the retired Marine four-star general serving as secretary of homeland security. But some of his advisers oppose that idea, arguing that Trump needs someone more in tune with the nationalist political movement that helped propel him to the White House.Priebus, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, lost his job just hours after the president's signature drive to repeal his predecessor's health care program collapsed on the Senate floor and a day after an ugly feud with the new communications director erupted in a public airing of the deep animosities plaguing the White House.The announcement capped a fraught 24 hours in which the president's advisers waited for a change they had long anticipated. Priebus accompanied Mr. Trump on Air Force One for a day trip to Long Island as his fate was being decided. Making for a tense flight, his rival, Anthony Scaramucci, the communications director who had publicly vowed to force Priebus's resignation, was also on the plane and in the motorcade.In barely half a year on the job, Priebus never won the full confidence of the president nor was granted the authority to impose a working organizational structure on the West Wing. Always seeming to be on the edge of ouster, Priebus saw his fate finally sealed a week ago when Trump hired Scaramucci, an edgy Wall Street financier, over the chief of staff's objections. Priebus's ally, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, resigned in protest.More than just a personnel dispute, the disagreement suggested a broader cleavage that would lead to Priebus' resignation. In tapping Scaramucci, Trump was turning to a wealthy New Yorker who had become part of his inner circle, and who compensated in charisma and rapport with Mr. Trump and his family for what he lacked in governing experience.Priebus represented a more conventional breed of senior White House figure, chosen by the president despite a career defined by the calculations of traditional Republican Party politics, which Mr. Trump regards as part of "the swamp" he was elected to drain.Priebus and Spicer had told the president they believed Scaramucci, a gregarious hedge fund manager and fund-raiser, lacked the political experience and organizational skills required to serve in the role of communications director. In the end, however, those warnings fell on deaf ears and further soured Trump, who almost from the start suggested both publicly and privately that the job of his chief of staff was not safe.Scaramucci made clear when he was hired that he did not report to Priebus but directly to the president and by Wednesday night was publicly suggesting that the chief of staff was a leaker and even threatened to seek an F.B.I. investigation. On Thursday, he went on television and dared Priebus to deny leaking and described the two of them as Cain and Abel, the biblical brothers whose rivalry results in one killing the other.On Thursday evening, the New Yorker posted an interview with Scaramucci that included a profanity-laced tirade against Priebus. He called Priebus a "paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," who leaked information against him and vowed to get him fired. "He'll be asked to resign very shortly," Scaramucci said.As party chairman last year, Priebus was slow to embrace .Trump's candidacy and the president, who sometimes called him "Reincey" in private, never let his chief of staff forget it. . Trump had often joked about his chief of staff's long-term loyalty, and liked reminding the people around him that Priebus suggested that he consider dropping out after the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape of Trump's crude remarks about women were made public in October.A native of Kenosha, Wis., Priebus rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to be his state's chairman, amassing power by establishing relationships with party donors and becoming an effective operator within the national party, which he was chosen to lead in 2011. One of his top allies was a fellow Republican from Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who publicly defended Priebus on Thursday when no one in the White House would.--The New York Times  Continue reading...

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