- Skye Gould/Business Insider
President Donald Trump announced on Dec. 15 that his secretary of interior Ryan Zinke would leave his job following a series of ethics investigations.
The administration has been rocked by high-profile departures – including Reince Priebus as chief of staff and James Comey as FBI director – since Trump took office in January 2017.
Here are all the top-level people who’ve either been fired or resigned from the administration, and why they left.
- Win McNamee/Getty Images
After initial reports emerged on Dec. 15 that interior secretary Ryan Zinke would leave the White House, President Donald Trump tweeted out the news, writing, “Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation.”
Zinke was under numerous ethics investigations at the time of his departure. By the time it was announced that he was leaving he had been the subject of 15 investigations.
During his tenure as inerior secretary, Zinke became notorious for questionable expenditures. One report alleged that he spent thousands on a helicopter ride bringing him to a location where he would ride horses with Vice President Mike Pence.
President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave “at the end of the year” and he plans to name his replacement in the next day or two.
Tensions brewed between Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, and Trump for months, with CNN reporting the day before Trump’s announcement that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they stopped speaking altogether.
Kelly’s replacement is rumored to be Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s current chief of staff and a longtime Republican operative.
- Win McNamee/Getty Images
Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation on November 7 after nearly two years in the position, with Trump announcing that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ Chief of Staff, would serve as acting attorney general until he nominates a permanent replacement.
Trump frequently criticized Sessions in harsh terms over Sessions’ recusal from overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.
“You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty,” Trump told Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. “He was an original supporter.” Trump lamented that he “put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department.”
White House counsel Don McGahn left the Trump administration on Wednesday after a tumultuous 21-month tenure, a source close to the administration told Business Insider on October 17.
McGahn was said to be on his way out of the White House, which was likely to happen after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, announced her resignation on Oct. 9th.
After Axios first reported the news, President Donald Trump announced to reporters in the Oval Office that Haley would resign at the end of 2018.
While the reason for her resignation was unclear, Trump said she previously told him she wanted to “take a break” after serving in the post for two years.
Haley was considered a moderating, stable force in the Trump cabinet who supported a strong US presence in the UN, sometimes at odds with National Security John Bolton, who takes a more hawkish stance on foreign affairs.
Appearing beside Trump in the Oval Office, Haley touted making progress on issues including trade and nuclear disarmament in Iran and North Korea. Trump praised Haley’s work, saying she could “have her pick” of roles if she wanted to return to the White House.
Haley also put to rest speculation that her resignation meant a presidential run for her in 2020.
“No, I am not running in 2020,” she said.
Trump announced in a tweet on July 5 that he had accepted embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation.
“Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this,” Trump wrote.
At the time of his resignation, Pruitt was the subject of several federal ethics investigations for his lavish spending habits, his suspected conflicts of interests with lobbyists, and for reportedly enlisting his official government staff to carry out his personal errands.
Democratic lawmakers accused Pruitt of using staff to get him a Trump tower mattress, to try to get his wife a position managing a Chick-fil-A franchise, and to find his family a new apartment in a posh DC neighborhood.
Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, was reportedly fired from his position by John Bolton, the new national security adviser.
Bossert’s firing came on the second day of Bolton’s tenure, April 10. He worked closely with former national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, ousted earlier this month, and is reportedly a close ally of chief of staff John Kelly.
“The president is grateful for Tom’s commitment to the safety and security of our great country,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement confirming Bossert’s departure. “President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well.”
Trump on Wednesday announced he is replacing embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, the White House physician.
“I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs,” Trump tweeted, adding in a second tweet, “In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin’s service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!”
Shulkin, a former Obama administration official, had years of experience and was the only Cabinet member unanimously confirmed by Congress.
Shulkin has come under fire recently, with media reports speculating about his removal.
An inspector general investigation in February alleged that he used $122,000 of taxpayer money on a trip to Europe with his wife and that he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, is replacing Army Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser.
“I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security advisor,” McMaster said in a statement.
“I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the President with the best options to protect and advance our national interests,” he continued.
McMaster’s tenure was rocky and marked by disputes with his boss as well as other senior administration officials. Rumors bubbled up periodically about McMaster’s impending firing, but he remained with the administration until now.
Trump tweeted: “I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend.”
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday – just a day before he would have reached pension eligibility.
McCabe, a 21-year veteran of the bureau, was planning to retire on Saturday. He was forced out of the FBI earlier this year amid an internal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into his approval of unauthorized disclosures to the media in October 2016 related to the bureau’s Hillary Clinton email probe.
Sessions said in a statement Friday that a “both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news med and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.”
But McCabe said in a Friday night statement that he believed he was “singled out” over the events he witnessed and actions he took after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May.
“The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn,” McCabe said.
- REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
President Donald Trump has asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to leave his post, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace him. The CIA’s deputy director, Gina Haspel, will succeed Pompeo, becoming the first woman to lead the agency.
Trump reportedly asked Tillerson to step down on Friday.
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said on March 6 that he would resign.
Cohn had tangled with the president and Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, over tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel.
Cohn was unable to convince the president to forgo the tariffs. According to The New York Times, which first reported the news, White House officials said there was no single factor behind Cohn’s resignation.
“Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” Mr. Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”
- Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
The resignation came just a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where she reportedly said that she told white lies for the president, but never lied about anything consequential related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” Hicks said in a statement. “I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who first broke the news, reported that it was not clear when her last day in the White House will be, but that it’s expected to be in the coming weeks. Hicks told she did not know what her next job will be.
“Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years,” Trump said in a statement. “She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood.”
Rob Porter, a powerful White House staffer whose profile has increased in recent months, resigned February 7 after two of his ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse.
Porter denied the allegations in a statement, and said he will “ensure a smooth transition” when he leaves the White House.
The White House did not give a specific date for Porter’s departure.
Here’s his full statement:
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign. My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned on January 31 after Politico reported that Fitzgerald purchased stock in Japan Tobacco while serving as CDC director.
Fitzgerald had also bought shares of the pharmaceutical companies Merck and Bayer and of the health insurer Humana.
The purchase of the tobacco shares especially raised concerns, because one of the CDC’s goals is to prevent and reduce smoking.
- Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison, had her official last day on January 20.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced December 13 that Manigault was leaving to “pursue other opportunities.”
Trump fired Manigault twice on her two seasons appearing on his television show, “The Apprentice.”
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The secretary of health and human services had elicited bipartisan condemnation over the cost of his air travel.
Tom Price had cost taxpayers more than $1 million between his use of private planes for domestic travel and military jets for recent trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia, Politico reported.
He resigned September 29.
- Alex Wong/Getty Images
A White House official confirmed Gorka’s departure from the Trump administration on August 25.
The former Breitbart News staffer and ally of chief strategist Steve Bannon served as a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump.
In his departing letter, first published on a pro-Trump website, Gorka told Trump he could better serve the president’s “America First” agenda from the outside.
Gorka was aligned with a once prominent nationalist arm of the Trump administration, occupied most prominently by Bannon and Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser.
Bannon’s departure a week earlier was seen as a significant blow to other nationalist, far-right figures in the White House, and Gorka implied as much in his letter, saying it was clear to him that “forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House.”
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
White House officials confirmed that Trump had dismissed Bannon, his chief strategist, on August 18 after reports of clashes between Bannon and other members of the White House reached a fever pitch in recent days.
Bannon, who was instrumental in focusing the message of Trump’s 2016 campaign, was considered the main conduit between Trump and his base of far-right voters. Bannon submitted his resignation to Trump earlier in August, The New York Times reports.
Matt Drudge, the conservative blogger, said Bannon might return to his former job as executive chairman of Breitbart News.
- Thomson Reuters
Scaramucci was hired as the White House communications director and then dismissed in less than two weeks. The decision came at the urging of John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, according to a Times report.
Scaramucci most notably made headlines for his interview with The New Yorker in which he unleashed an expletive-filled tirade against members of the Trump administration.
Priebus resigned as White House chief of staff six months into his tenure after a public feud with Scaramucci.
Trump announced in a tweet on June 28 that Kelly, the secretary of homeland security at the time, would take over for Priebus. Priebus resigned less than a week after Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, who was considered a Priebus ally in the White House.
- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Spicer, the embattled White House press secretary, resigned on July 21 after telling Trump he vehemently disagreed with the selection of Scaramucci as White House communications director.
Dubke resigned as the White House communications director in May. Dubke was replaced by Scaramucci, the founder of a hedge fund and a top Trump donor.
Shaub resigned as the director of the Office of Government Ethics in July after clashing with the White House over Trump’s complicated financial holdings.
Shaub called the Trump administration a “laughingstock” after his resignation, and he advocated strengthening the US’s ethical and financial disclosure rules, according to The Times.
- REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Trump fired Comey as FBI director in May.
At the time of his firing, Comey was handling the bureau’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, creating a firestorm of controversy for the Trump administration.
Comey was the second FBI director to be fired by a president – Bill Clinton fired William Sessions in 1993.
- Mario Tama/Getty Images
Flynn resigned in February after serving as national security adviser for less than a month.
Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about what he and Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the US, talked about in phone conversations during the transition – according to reports, they had discussed the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia.
Trump fired Yates, an appointee of President Barack Obama, as acting attorney general within his first 10 days in office. Yates had refused to uphold Trump’s executive order on immigration and denounced it as unlawful.
Yates was also instrumental in the events that led to Flynn’s ouster, as she had informed Trump days after his inauguration that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
- Thomson Reuters
Trump fired Bharara as the US attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan in March after he refused to submit his resignation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Bharara was fired along with several other Obama-era US attorneys, though Trump had initially asked Bharara during the transition to remain in his position.
- REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files
Walsh, the former deputy chief of staff and close ally of Priebus, left the White House after nine weeks to run America First Policies, a pro-Trump group outside the government.