You’re Fired: Who’s who in the Trump sackings and resignations

From attorney general Sally Yates to communications director Anthony Scaramucci

Clockwise from top left: Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, James Comey, Michael Flynn and Sally Yates have all been fired or resigned during the Trump administration. Photographs: NYTIMES, AFP, REUTERS

Clockwise from top left: Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, James Comey, Michael Flynn and Sally Yates have all been fired or resigned during the Trump administration. Photographs: NYTIMES, AFP, REUTERS


Donald Trump's sacking of his chief strategist Steve Bannon is just the latest departure from the Trump administration, which has seen a number of officials fired or resign.

Who? Acting attorney general Sally Yates

When? Fired on January 30th, 2017

Why? In a letter to Justice Department staff, the Obama appointee told them not to defend Mr Trump’s executive order banning refugees from Syria and nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries in court because she did not think it was legal.

Anything else? The White House said the country’s top legal adviser had “betrayed” the Justice Department. Sean Spicer said her action was “bewildering” and “defiant”.

Who? National Security Adviser Mike Flynn

When? Resigned on February 13th, 2017

Why? Mr Flynn resigned after revelations he had discussed US sanctions on Russia with the Russian ambassador to the United States before Mr Trump took office and misled vice-president Mike Pence about the conversations.

Anything else? A widely circulated picture of Mr Flynn sitting alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin at a dinner in Moscow in 2015 dogged him since his appointment, and his reported volatile temperament and strong views on radical Islam made him a controversial pick.

Who? US Attorney, Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara

When? Sacked on March 11th, 2017

Why? The prosecutor said the Trump administration fired him when he refused to step down. The Justice Department had asked for the resignation of the 46 Obama-era district attorneys who had not yet quit.

Anything else? “President Trump’s abrupt and unexplained decision to summarily remove over 40 US attorneys has once again caused chaos in the federal government” - New York attorney-general Eric Schneiderman

Who? FBI director James Comey

When? Fired on May 9th, 2017. The FBI chief learned of his sacking from a TV news report while speaking with FBI agents in Los Angeles.

Why? Hmm, various reasons given. In a letter, Mr Trump said the FBI chief was “not able to effectively lead the bureau” and was sacked because the attorney general and his deputy recommended it.

The president later said Mr Comey was fired for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Mr Comey later testified that he believed he was fired because “something about the way I was conducting the Russia investigation was in some way putting pressure on him, in some way irritating him”.

Anything else? Mr Trump reportedly told Russian diplomats that firing the “nut job” FBI director had relieved “great pressure” on him. Mr Comey is only the second director to be fired in bureau history (President Bill Clinton fired William S. Sessions in 1993).

Who? White House communications director, Michael Dubke

When? Mr Dubke tendered his resignation on May 18th, 2017

Why? Trump was reportedly considering a shakeup within the White House

Anything else? The departure seemed to be on good terms. White House chief of staff (at the time) Reince Priebus said in a statement: “We appreciate Mike and are very grateful for his service to President Trump and our country.”

Who? Walter M. Shaub Jr, director of the Office of Government Ethics

When? Mr Shaub left his post on July 19th, 2017

Why? The director, who had repeatedly clashed with Mr Trump, said: “In working with the current administration, it has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics programme.”

Anything else? In his July 6th resignation letter to the president, Mr Shaub said officials at the Office of Government Ethics “were committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust” (his italics).

Who? White House press secretary Sean Spicer

When? Resigned on July 21st, 2017

Why? Mr Spicer told Mr Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.

Anything else? Commenting on Mr Spicer’s departure, Mr Scaramucci said: “This is obviously a difficult situation but I wish him well and I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money.”

And some quotes:

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”

“You had someone who was as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons”.

“Please stop shaking your head again” – to reporter April Ryan during press briefing questioning over Russian links to the White House.

Who? White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

When? Mr Priebus tendered his resignation, six months into his post, on July 27th, 2017

Why? His resignation followed a high-profile fall-out between Mr Priebus and recently appointed communications director Anthony Scaramucci, after a New Yorker reporter disclosed details of an expletive-ridden tirade Scaramucci delivered about his Priebus.

Anything else: In, eh, salty language, Scaramucci told the reporter: “Reince is a f*****g paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

Who? White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci

When? Sacked on July 31st, 2017

Why? He was only 10 days in the role, but his talk of backstabbing in Washington DC and use of colourful language (see above) caused controversy. The decision to remove Mr Scaramucci was reportedly taken by General John Kelly, the newly appointed chief of staff.

Anything else? Mr Trump, no stranger to controversial language, felt Mr Scaramucci’s comments to the New Yorker journalist were inappropriate.

Who? Chief strategist Steve Bannon

When? Sacked on August 18th, 2017

Why? Trump has become increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday. As he came under fire from prominent fellow Republicans, business leaders and US allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Bannon, a powerful and controversial figure known for his far-right political views to be removed. 

Anything else? Bannon damaged his standing by giving an interview to the liberal American Prospect in which he was seen to be undercutting Trump's position on North Korea. Bannon said he thought he was talking to an academic off the record. 

And then there’s the people Mr Trump has threatened to fire:

Attorney general Jeff Sessions

Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked his attorney general – and said he would never have appointed Mr Sessions had he known he would recuse himself from all Russia investigations.

Special counsel Robert Mueller

Mr Trump has questioned the independence of the special counsel, accusing the man appointed to lead the Russia investigation of being “good friends” with Mr Comey, the fired FBI director.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price

At a scout jamboree speech, the president joked Mr Price would be fired he did not secure enough Senate votes to proceed with dismantling Obamacare. The Senate vote failed.