Resignations and Dismissals
Resignations and dismissals of cabinet members and senior White House staff are not uncommon. During Obama's first six years as president, 36 high-ranking officials resigned for various reasons. The George W. Bush administration experienced 42 resignations. Nine criminal convictions of high-ranking or senior administration members followed those resignations.
Reagan's administration saw the most resignations, due largely to the Iran-Contra Affair. By the end of his two terms, 138 White House officials had been convicted, indicted, or had been the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or criminal violations following their resignations, including his press secretary and chief of staff.
Trump's presidency has been marked by swift resignations and withdrawals from consideration. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned amid scandal. Trump's nominee for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, stepped aside amid controversies over unpaid taxes and other issues. Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort stepped down after ties between him and Russia were revealed during the campaign. Manafort himself was only appointed the campaign manager after the previous one, Corey Lewandowski, resigned after physically abusing a journalist, among other things. Another staffer, adviser Michael Caputo, was fired after mocking Lewandowski for being fired. And Trump's North Carolina state campaign director resigned after being accused of pointing a loaded gun at staffers.
|2017.12.08||Deputy national security adviser Dina Powell plans to leave the White House as part of an anticipated wave of departures following President Trump’s first year in office. washingtonpost.com (See also Foreign Policy, H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson)|
|2017.12.13||Omarosa Manigault-Newman, the former reality TV star turned political aide to Donald Trump, has resigned from her administration position. buzzfeed.com (See also Black Americans)|
|2017.12.21||Rick Dearborn, one of Donald Trump’s top aides, will step down early next year to pursue private-sector work, becoming the latest high-profile departure from the West Wing in recent weeks. wsj.com|
|2017.12.28||The Trump White House saw a record number of first-year staff departures at 34%, which is unprecedented in the modern era, as the next highest first year turnover rate was 17% under Ronald Reagan in 1981. wsj.com (See also Unprecedented Actions)|
|2018.01.19||Trump administration appointee Carl Higbie resigned Thursday as chief of external affairs for the federal government's volunteer service organization after a review of racist, sexist, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT comments he made on the radio. cnn.com (See also Racism, Homophobia, Women, Black Americans)|
|2018.01.31||The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resigned on Wednesday, in the middle of the nation’s worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade, because of her troubling financial investments in tobacco and health care companies that posed potential conflicts of interest. nytimes.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Department of Health and Human Services)|
|2018.02.01||A wave of retirements has hit the Environmental Protection Agency’s research program to identify and evaluate toxic chemicals, as it faces a shrinking budget under the Trump administration and a complicated overhaul of how it conducts chemical assessments. buzzfeed.com (See also Environmental Protection Agency, Environment, Scott Pruitt)|
|2018.02.02||K.T. McFarland, picked by Donald Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, withdrew from consideration for the job on Friday after her nomination became stalled in the U.S. Senate, due to concerns about her testimony to Congress over communications with Russia. reuters.com (See also Russia, False Statements)|
|2018.02.04||The Trump administration plans to withdraw its nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, who has said that carbon dioxide should be considered the “gas of life” rather than a pollutant. nytimes.com (See also Climate Change, Environment, Administration Errors)|
Carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.
|2018.02.07||White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations axios.com (See also Women, Misogyny, John Kelly)|
|2018.02.09||Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country’s top law enforcement agency has been under attack by Donald Trump. nytimes.com (See also Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, 2016 Election)|
|2018.02.12||More than a year into his administration, Donald Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades, struggling to fill openings, unwilling to hire Republicans he considers disloyal and unable to entice Republicans who consider him unstable. nytimes.com (See also Administration Errors)|
Trump's 23% turnover rate in his first year is more than three times as high as Barack Obama's in the same period, and twice as high a Ronald Reagan's which until now was the modern record holder.
|2018.02.12||The Trump administration’s controversial pick to run the 2020 census, Thomas Brunell, a political science professor who has defended Republican redistricting efforts in more than a dozen states, has withdrawn from consideration. motherjones.com (See also Assaults on Civil Liberties, Voter Suppression)|
|2018.02.13||FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared to completely contradict White House’s response and timeline regarding allegations that former staff secretary Rob Porter beat both his ex-wives. splinternews.com (See also Legal Issues, Administration Errors)|
|2018.02.13||The White House changed its story on Tuesday about how it handled allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned in disgrace, conceding that the F.B.I. told White House career officials last summer about problems in Mr. Porter’s background check, but members of President Trump’s team said top advisers in the West Wing were kept in the dark. nytimes.com (See also Reversals, False Statements)|
|2018.02.14||A senior official on the National Economic Council resigned after being informed that he would not receive a permanent security clearance, as the White House faces increasing scrutiny over the number of high-ranking officials allowed to work on interim clearances. politico.com (See also John Kelly)|
|2018.02.20||A top official at the Department of Health and Human Services has been placed on administrative leave after a CNN KFile inquiry while the agency investigates social media postings in which he pushed unfounded smears on social media. cnn.com (See also Department of Health and Human Services, Belief in Conspiracy Theories, Racism)|
|2018.02.27||Josh Raffel, a senior communications official in the White House who has been a go-to crisis manager and who has worked closely with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, is leaving the administration. washingtonpost.com (See also Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner)|
|2018.02.28||Hope Hicks, the White House communications director and one of President Trump’s longest-serving advisers, said that she was resigning. nytimes.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election)|
Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee.
|2018.03.06||Gary D. Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Tuesday that he would resign, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration. nytimes.com (See also Economy, Anti-Semitism, Nationalism)|
|2018.03.07||Several White House staffers have been terminated or reassigned for issues related to their security clearances — with at least one individual employed in the Office of the First Lady relieved of duty. abcnews.go.com (See also John Kelly, Jared Kushner, Administration Errors)|
|2018.03.13||Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him as the nation’s top diplomat, orchestrating a major change to his national security team amid delicate outreach such as possible talks with North Korea. washingtonpost.com (See also Rex Tillerson, Department of State, North Korea, Mike Pompeo)|
|2018.03.13||Donald Trump’s personal assistant, John McEntee, was escorted off of the White House on Monday, due to and unspecified financial security issue. wsj.com (See also Legal Issues)|
|2018.03.13||Hours before being ousted as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson called the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter with a military-grade nerve agent in the U.K. “a really egregious act” that appears to have “clearly” come from Russia. nbcnews.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia, Rex Tillerson, Department of State)|
“It's almost beyond comprehension that a state, an organized state would do something like that,” Rex Tillerson said on a trip to Africa, hours before being fired.
|2018.03.13||The San Francisco spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has resigned over what he described as “false” and “misleading” statements made by top-ranking officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan. washingtonpost.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of State, False Statements, Immigration)|