Trump suggests more staff changes coming, but denies ‘chaos’ in White House
Amid a growing number of departures from his inner circle, and with more rumored to come, Trump seems to have become preoccupied in recent days with the turmoil that has rocked his administration.
Amid a flurry of turnover at the White House, President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied there was any chaos in his administration, but still put his staff on notice that more changes could be coming.
"The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House. Wrong!" Trump tweeted. "People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision."
"I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!" Trump added.
The president did not elaborate on the idea, following the tweet with a quintet of short posts about DACA, oil, North Korea, the Academy Awards and praise for Fox News.
Last week, White House communications director Hope Hicks — Trump's longest-serving aide — announced her resignation, diminishing the president's inner circle and sinking White House morale. Two people close to the administration told NBC News that the president had become angry and depressed after losing Hicks, whom he had looked upon as one of his own children.
Then, the next day, NBC News reported that Trump was preparing to replace national security adviser H.R. McMaster as early as next month in a move orchestrated by chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis. The same week also saw Trump attack his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and top adviser Jared Kushner lose his top-secret security clearance.
And just weeks earlier, the administration was rocked by a scandal involving White House staff secretary Rob Porter, a senior official and rising Washington star who was accused by his two ex-wives of verbal and physical abuse. Porter resigned, but the episode brought increased scrutiny on Kelly after contradictory public and private accounts emerged on how he had responded to the accusations against Porter.
Meanwhile, Trump referenced the chronic disarray in the middle of a joke-filled speech at the annual Gridiron Dinner over the weekend, firing off a string of self-deprecating jokes about the turnover in his White House.
"So many people have been leaving the White House. It's actually been really exciting and invigorating.… I like turnover. I like chaos. It really is good," he said Saturday. "Now the question everybody keeps asking is, 'Who is going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?'"
Just two days later, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg spent Monday belligerently defying special counsel Robert Mueller in a series of live television interviews, before saying he would likely cooperate with a subpoena seeking campaign documents related to the Russia investigation.