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In and Out

by AFP

Brendan Smialowski—AFP

White House casualties mount as Trump enters eighth month as president of the United States

Traffic through the White House exit door has been astonishingly high since Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20.

On Friday chief strategist Steve Bannon became the latest casualty of seven months of bedlam in the executive offices of the world’s most powerful country. Here are the main Trump aides who have come and gone since January, before Americans ever really got to know them:

National Security Adviser Mike Flynn

Trump steadfastly defended his national security adviser, even though Flynn had been fired by Barack Obama from his job as defense intelligence chief and was deeply distrusted across the intelligence community. Flynn lasted only 22 days, forced out on Feb. 13 over top-level concerns that he could be compromised by false statements he made over his contacts with Russian officials and his paid lobbying for Turkey during the campaign.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer

Spicer’s troubles began immediately when he was called to defend his boss’s false claim about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. Spicer described the turnout as “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” But aerial photos clearly showed the crowd was much smaller than when Obama was sworn in for his first term in 2009. Spicer instantly lost credibility with the media. He quickly became the favorite administration target of the comedy show Saturday Night Live, played as an oafish and irritable Trump fall-guy by comedian Melissa McCarthy.

Seeming to know his days were numbered, Spicer took to fending off questions about his boss’s most provocative statements by telling the media that “the tweet speaks for itself. I’m moving on.” Out on July 22, he lasted 182 days. He left when Anthony Scaramucci was named White House communications director.

Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

The faceless former chairman of the Republican National Committee was supposed to manage the White House and control the door to Trump’s office. But he couldn’t manage the president himself and thus failed at any attempt to quell the chaos swirling in the West Wing. A close ally of Spicer, Priebus took a hard fall when Trump named Scaramucci as the new communications director. Scaramucci publicly described Priebus as a “paranoid schizophrenic” and when Trump let that statement stand, rather than defend Priebus, he took the exit door after 189 days, on July 31.

Scaramucci, ‘the Mooch’

Anthony Scaramucci’s no-holds-barred play for Priebus’s job after he was hired on July 21 was a display of his brash New York tough-guy approach to office politics. It sat poorly with the man Trump ultimately chose to be chief of staff, then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Within days “the Mooch”—already a late night TV icon for his tailored suits, aviator sunglasses and slicked back hair—had all the attention on himself, which was a no-no for Trump. He ended up with the shortest tenure of anyone in the Trump White House: a paltry 10 days.

Chief Strategist Steve Bannon

The architect of Trump’s nationalist-populist political stances and his election victory, Bannon was called the Prince of Darkness, Darth Vader, and even the Shadow President. His economic nationalism became the lynchpin of Trump policies, even as many of his other ideas were rebuffed by policy rivals. But after Kelly arrived, his constant clashes with other Trump advisers became untenable, as did his ties to the extreme right that drew accusations that Trump represented racists. Bannon lasted 210 days.

Other casualties of the first seven months: Derek Harvey, Middle East adviser on the National Security Council; early Communications Director Mike Dubke; KT McFarland, deputy national security adviser; Katie Walsh, Priebus’ deputy chief of staff; Craig Dear, National Security Council Western Hemisphere Affairs director; and Angela Reid, White House chief usher.

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