White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has played his cards close to his chest lately. He’s done so even as this weekend saw an anonymous Twitter account claiming that Kellyanne Conway was mocking him at a recent embassy event (while “leaking” to Washington Post reporters?). Being the possible butt of Conway jokes might be the least of Priebus’ troubles, however, according to a new Politico report that says Trump has charged him with a massive White House overhaul. Even worse, the deadline for this feat to happen is July 4, and Trump has reportedly threatened Priebus’ livelihood if he doesn’t deal with the “mess” on time.
Where does one even begin to “clean up” such a pile of shenanigans? Everyone seems to be leaking, a substantial amount of Trump players are being investigated for Russian ties, and folks aren’t embracing the White House’s attempts to #MAGA. Yet Priebus has apparently been a Trump target for months, according to a previous Politico report, which leveled “sheer incompetence” charges at the former RNC head, who may regret leaving his comparatively easier old gig. This story picks up a few days after Trump came back from his overseas voyage:
Trump berated Priebus in the Oval Office in front of his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie for the dysfunction in the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the conversation.
“I’m giving you until July 4,” Trump said, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation. “I don’t want them to come into this mess. If I’m going to clean house, they will come in as fresh blood.”
The discussion arose as Trump debated hiring Bossie as deputy chief of staff and hothead Lewandowski as a senior advisor. The latter was tipped to participate in a “war room” to fight Russia-related allegations, but that plan fell through with Trump personal attorney Marc Kasowitz picking up much of the Russia burden. Yet Lewandowski continues to operate as a particularly rabid Trump surrogate, and it’s only a matter of time before he joins the crew.
Of course, this administration is only five months old, yet a supposed communications shakeup also sits on the horizon, and Politico notes that Trump’s threat may go nowhere because it’s not a great look to fire multiple major players right out of the gate. Also (and this doesn’t mean much) Sean Spicer told the publication that “whoever is saying that is either a liar or out of the loop.” Because … Spicey.