Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, joins the long list of ministers, advisors or even boss of the FBI dismissed or pushed to resign since the election of Donald Trump.
While he was enjoying a few hours before finally finding his chief of staff in a context of high tension in the White House, Donald Trump announced this Saturday a new start in his administration. The seventh minister on the departure is none other than the controversial Ryan Zinke, hitherto in charge of the Interior.
A few hours earlier, it was General John Kelly, secretary general of the White House and as such one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, who had thrown in the towel. John Kelly was formerly the new Homeland Security Prime Minister, before joining the White House General Secretariat in July 2017 to restore some order. It was at his post that the president announced Mick Mulvaney, until now the budget director as acting replacement.
Return on the resignations and dismissals in series of this extraordinary presidency.
Eight ministers in two years
Ryan Zinke is the last one sacrificed to date. A former Montana official, the interior minister was notably criticized for his excessive expenses: he had had three large doors renovated in his office at a cost of $ 75,000 and the Inspector General of his department was investigating his travel expenses by plane. Donald Trump ensures that a replacement will be announced “next week”.
Before him, Jeff Sessions was replaced just ten days ago by William Barr. Minister of Justice until early November, the ultra-conservative 71 years had implemented the anti-immigration policy of the president, including the separation of families of illegal migrants and the end of the protected status of “Dreamers”, these immigrants who arrived illegally in the country when they were children. Initially, the flow went well between the two men but Jeff Sessions was the target of presidential criticism since he had decided, in March 2017, to recuse himself from any investigation concerning the suspicions of Russian interference because of his meetings with the Russian ambassador in the middle of the presidential campaign.
Before him, UN ambassador Nikki Haley announced in early October his decision to step down at the end of the year. The reasons for his departure are however rather vague and are not necessarily the result of a disagreement with Donald Trump, who has praised his work. The former governor of South Carolina has also promised to campaign for the re-election of the president in 2020.
The announcement of the departure of Nikki Haley, was preceded by the resignation of Scott Pruitt, Minister of the Environment. The leader of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had served the president’s climate-friendly policy thoroughly by unraveling Barack Obama’s environmental record. But he was stuck in a cascade of scandals related to his lifestyle and his use of public funds.
The same goes for the former Health Minister, Tom Price, who was forced to resign after many revelations about his expenses, and his taste for private jet travel. In this case, Donald Trump was still dissatisfied and “disappointed” with his minister. The orthopedist also probably paid for his failure to reform Obamacare, an emblematic law of his Democratic predecessor.
For Rex Tillerson, head of diplomacy, the sacking was much more violent. The secretary of state left after months of tension and humiliation on the part of Donald Trump on US diplomatic strategy, whether on Iran or North Korea. Supposed to speak for the United States, the former boss was often cut off from the decision-making process. One of his relatives also explained that he had not spoken to the president before his ouster, announced on Twitter. He was replaced by CIA chief Mike Pompeo.
Finally, we remember the announcement of the departure of David Shulkin, rather than his name or function. Indeed, beyond the management problems of his department that the press regularly denounced, all of them mainly remembered the fact that Donald Trump decided to replace this Minister of Veterans Affairs with … his doctor!
The most emblematic departure of the Trump presidency may be that of his shadow adviser, Steve Bannon. Near the far right and now known as France where he came to support Marine Le Pen, he played a crucial role in the final stretch of the US presidential election. But his cohabitation with other tenors at the White House turned to internal warfare. Then after his ouster, relations with Trump himself turned to the settlement of account. It must be said that the former near is the author of “Fire and Fury”, a book assassin behind the scenes of the Trump administration released in January.
Second strongman of Donald Trump at the time of his election, the faithful Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff of the White House, had been replaced by General John Kelly, until now Minister of Homeland Security. At the time, the president wanted to show that he could “reset the counters” while the White House was shaken by internal quarrels.
At the same time, the billionaire had also had to separate from his spokesman, Sean Spicer, who had multiplied the risky reflections for six months. The latter had been replaced by Anthony Scaramucci, before he also left after … ten days at his post! Director of Communications Hope Hicks, a former model turned Trump’s advisor overnight, is just as furtively part of the team. Serial departures to communication that required a comment from Trump: “No, there is no chaos in the White House! ”
More recently, former Goldman Sachs investment bank chief Gary Cohn has stepped down from his position as the president’s chief economic advisor to protest his decision to impose new tariffs on steel and steel imports. aluminum. A last drop of water after several disagreements between him and Donald Trump while the latter has engaged for several months in a great trade war with Asia and Europe.
The National Security cluster itself has had its own slaughter in the Trump administration. Indeed, Michael Flynn initially only held 22 days as an advisor. The former head of US military intelligence, much appreciated by Donald Trump, paid for the Russian affair, of which he is one of the protagonists. He was replaced by H.R. McMaster, a three-star general, but the latter also left office after several months in a very weakened position. The president had in particular rebuked him on Twitter for having considered “irrefutable” the evidence of an interference of Moscow in the American election. He was replaced by the very conservative John Bolton, one of George W. Bush’s “hawks”. The influential Deputy Councilor Dina Powell also had to leave. Note that Donald Trump has already known four advisers to the National Security against three in two terms for Barack Obama, two for George W. Bush (including the highly media Condoleezza Rice) or two for Bill Clinton.
Pressures on the FBI and the CIA
Still on the heels of an investigation into Russian interference in the Trump campaign, FBI boss James Comey was fired as early as May 2017. He then confided that the president had asked him “disturbing” questions about the investigation. course. His number 2 – and interim replacement – Andrew McCabe, under pressure because accused by Trump of being too close to his former superior and Democrats, ended up following, fired two days before his retirement. And their successor, Christophe Wray, is already in the viewfinder of the president.
CIA side, it is more about shelters and humiliations. The story between the very secret agency and the president went wrong, since he had criticized it badly since taking office. Donald Trump had started a reconciliation campaign by launching “I love you” generous, but obviously unconvincing … And the outgoing head of the agency, John Brennan, to advise him to “discipline”. To thank him, the leader removed his Secret-Defense accreditation, threatening the other former leaders to deprive them of this retained benefit after their departure so that, traditionally, they could be consulted on certain files. John Brennan has since assured Trump that he has withdrawn his clearance to smother a part of the Russian affair.