It’s no shock that the White House has been in utter disarray since Mr. Trump became president, having already gone through two communications directors. Last July, Trump fired White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci after he unloaded to The New Yorker about Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon. Most recently, Communications Director Hope Hicks resigned in February amidst increasing clashes with the president.
Now, it looks like the upheaval on Trump’s communication team continues. On Monday, it was reported that special assistant to the president and director of rapid response Steven Cheung has left the White House. Cheung’s last day was Friday and he was one of the last remaining Trump campaign-era aides still working at the White House.
According to POLITICO:
‘Cheung was known as the rare aide in the White House who was often in the room, but kept his head down. Unlike many of his colleagues, he never turned himself into a household name.’
Bryan Lanza, a former Trump campaign aide said:
‘Steven has been a part of Trump world for over 700 days. He deserves a gold watch.’
‘Lanza recalled surviving the 2016 Republican National Convention with Cheung, when the communications staff was still just a shoestring operation trying to figure out Trump’s simultaneously combative and symbiotic relationship to the press in real time.’
‘There was no onboarding. It was a hurricane that disrupted both of our lives and changed the rules of how we understood the media.’
The Trump campaign communications team strongly pitted itself against the Hillary Clinton Campaign, but these days, “it has since transformed into a snake pit turned in against itself.” Trump’s press and communications team has undergone several changes since the president took office. The White House communications department seems to have more “leakers” than any other branch of the West Wing, especially since Mr. Trump has taken to Twitter as his official form of communication.
White House communications staffer Kelly Sadler left her position last week after being heavily criticized for her comments about Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to CIA nominee Gina Haspel when she said his opinion didn’t matter because he was “dying anyway.”
According to POLITICO:
‘Sadler became infamous for the episode. She was not, however, fired because of the remark, but in spite of it: Trump was reportedly more incensed by the fact that her comment leaked out of an internal meeting than that she made the comment at all.’
Cliff Sims, another campaign-era aide who recently left the West Wing said:
‘You have a communications team that is, by any measure, very inexperienced. Cheung had experience outside of politics at a high level.’
Sims said that Cheung was also instrumental in some of the Trump administration’s most successful wins including the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch and last winter’s passage of a massive tax reform bill. Sims said:
‘No one gave more of his heart and soul to the President these past two years.’
‘Counselor Kellyanne Conway, who has assumed a large hand in the White House communications strategy, last week hinted more changes coming to the team – but not, likely, the appointment of a communications director any time soon to succeed Hope Hicks, who left in February.’
Conway told reporters last week:
‘We’re trying to not force ourselves to fit what worked for Obama, Bush or Reagan. Some people have left recently, we expect others will in the near future….We’re going to do things differently and creatively with rapid response. We also are beefing up the digital team.’
Here’s what Twitter had to say about the recent staff departure:
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