President Donald Trump fired his White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on Friday because he considered him ‘weak’ and ineffectual, it was reported on Saturday.
The president thought so little of Priebus that he once summoned him to the Oval Office and assigned him the task of killing a fly that was buzzing overhead.
The episode highlighted the extent to which Priebus was marginalized by the president during his six-month tenure, according to The Washington Post.
Priebus was fired as Trump’s chief of staff on Friday, when the president tweeted that his job would be taken by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
According to the Post, Trump repeatedly questioned Priebus’ loyalty and criticized him as ‘weak, weak, weak’ in conversations with other White House staffers.
‘It reached a fever pitch of the president complaining about Reince to all of us,’ said one senior White House official.
‘If we heard it once, we heard it 20 times in the last week — this erosion of confidence. The word was ‘weak’ — ‘weak,’ ‘weak,’ ‘weak.’ ‘Can’t get it done.”
The president reportedly never forgave Priebus after the former Republican National Committee chairman urged then-candidate Trump to drop out of the race last October after the airing of the infamous 2005 Access Hollywood interview.
Trump is heard on the footage making crude remarks while bragging about trying to seduce a married woman.
The White House official is quoted by the Post as saying that Priebus’ comments were ‘a stain he was never going to remove. The scarlet ‘A.H.’
The Post also reported that Priebus’ firing was made easier by the fact that it had the blessing of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior aide to his father-in-law.
Both Ivanka Trump and Kushner were of the opinion that Priebus was not effective at running the White House.
First Lady Melania Trump is also reported to have shared this view with her husband.
The president had also privately questioned Priebus’ competence after major legislative items failed to pass the US Congress, a Trump confidant said.
Trump announced the move in a tweet a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, accused Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade.
Kelly, 67, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, will assume the chief of staff post on Monday.
He was hired with the goal of bringing more discipline to the White House, a senior White House official said.
Trump issued his decision just as he landed aboard Air Force One after a visit to Long Island and hours after Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare failed in the Senate.
Priebus was on the plane with the Republican president and made no comment. Reporters had noticed no sign of stress from Priebus during the day.
Priebus told CNN he had been talking to Trump for some time about exiting the White House, and is the latest in a long line of officials to leave or not take a job at the White House.
‘The president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it’s time to hit the reset button,’ Priebus said in a televised interview from the White House.
‘He intuitively determined that it was time to do something different, and I think he’s right.’
A source close to Priebus said the former Republican National Committee chairman turned in his resignation on Thursday night, after Scaramucci’s rant against him was published by the New Yorker magazine.