President Donald Trump's ouster of Reince Priebus as chief of staff was a long time coming; Priebus and the new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci were quite public enemies, and reportedly Trump's disappointment with Priebus's job performance had been brewing for a while. Priebus, for his part, says that he resigned in private on Thursday.
But the departure was still handled bizarrely. For one thing, Trump announced the appointment of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to be chief of staff (and thus that Priebus was leaving) through a string of three tweets. Second, according to a pool report by Politico's Josh Gerstein, following an Air Force One flight Priebus was almost literally kicked to the curb.
After Air Force One arrived in Andrews Air Force base in Maryland outside DC, following a trip to Long Island, Priebus initially boarded an SUV with other senior White House staff — before those staff members left his vehicle for another one. And when news broke of the firing, Priebus's car was literally pulled out of the motorcade and sent on its way. The whole time, Trump sat in Air Force One:
Most staff was off before we moved into position but Reince Priebus and Steven Miller and Dan Scavino loaded into one suburban then moments later Miller and Scavino got out and loaded another van.
As word spread about Priebus' dismissal, some reporters got up close to Priebus' car, taking cell photos and such.
Priebus' car then pulled aside, out of the POTUS motorcade. Priebus car and a follow up departed at 458PM.
POTUS continued to hold on the plane during all this. Still holding at this writing.
"Looked like Priebus departed for home while the rest of us head to the White House," Gerstein tweeted. "Seems there's a good chance the firing went down as AF1 circled near Andrews. Flight was longer than typical short hop from NY."
Priebus disputes the idea that he was fired, telling the Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender that he "resigned privately yesterday." And it's certainly possible the motorcade situation looked more awkward than it actually was.
But it still seems rather strange that a Chief of Staff who had already resigned would accompany the president to an event in New York, and that Priebus was initially loaded into one vehicle before being put on another at the last minute. It leads to some reasonable suspicious that, as Gerstein speculates, the firing might have gone down on Air Force One.
Report: Reince Priebus literally got kicked out of the presidential motorcade - Vox
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