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November 15, 2018 08:54:13

As President, Donald Trump hasn’t been shy about firing people.

Post midterms, he’s already lost one senior member of his administration in former attorney-general Jeff Sessions.

But the rumour mill is in overdrive in Washington, with reports the President is considering a bigger shake-up of his administration in the wake of difficult midterm elections and a looming special counsel investigation.

According to CNN, the only people inside the White House that feel safe are the President’s family.

Here’s who’s in the firing line at the moment, and what they’ve done to upset the President.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly

No mistake about it, General Kelly is a big fish in the White House. His departure would be a major one.

Brought in to replace Reince Priebus, General Kelly was credited early with limiting access to Mr Trump and bringing more discipline to the White House.

But a string of dramas, including one where he had to deny calling the President “an idiot”, reportedly tested the relationship between the President and his most senior aide.

This isn’t the first time it’s been rumoured Mr Trump wants to fire General Kelly, but with other more likely targets of the President’s fury now gone (see Sessions, Jeff) it appears he could be next in line.

So what’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back this time? Clashing with First Lady Melania, according to NBC.

The network reports General Kelly has resisted promoting several aides from the First Lady’s office, while promoting ones from within his own.

He’s also close to the next person who’s on shaky ground with the President…

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

Ms Nielsen is the one responsible for implementing policy on the issue closest to Mr Trump’s heart — immigration.

The President chose the issue as his closing pitch at the midterms, highlighting how important he feels it is to his continued electoral success.

Unfortunately for Ms Nielsen, Mr Trump is reportedly deeply unhappy with her handling of the department, according to several US media outlets.

Ms Nielsen is a close ally of General Kelly, who pushed Mr Trump to appoint her to the position.

So it’s likely her fate is closely tied to General Kelly’s, with speculation both might leave at the same time.

Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel

Probably the person most likely to leave, after she was the target of a surprise public statement from the First Lady’s office yesterday calling for her axing.

The Wall Street Journal reported the First Lady’s staff and Ms Ricardel had clashed during Ms Trump’s visit to Africa in October, over such things as seating on the plane.

A White House official said Ms Ricardel wanted to travel to Africa with the First Lady, but was denied seating on the plane because there was no room for her and several others who initially expected to make the trip, according to AP.

Officials have also said they believe she is the source of rumours about Defence Secretary Jim Mattis falling from Mr Trump’s favour and being on thin ice himself.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are also being discussed for replacement according to AP.

Is this out of the ordinary?

A shake-up of the President’s staff in the wake of midterms isn’t totally unprecedented, and had been heavily foreshadowed.

Marc Short, a former White House director of legislative affairs, told the Washington Post some turnover was to be expected.

“It does provide the President with an opportunity to reset,” he said.

But few recent administrations have been subject to the kind of staff turmoil the Trump White House has seen.

Which means in Mr Trump’s White House a high staff turnover, among other breaks with tradition, might just be the new ordinary.

ABC/AP

Topics:

donald-trump,

government-and-politics,

world-politics,

united-states

First posted

November 15, 2018 08:43:24

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