White House communications director Michael Dubke resigns, staff shake-up expected
In a note to colleagues, Dubke said the reasons for his departure are “personal.”world Updated: May 30, 2017 21:54 IST
A top White House official stepped down on Tuesday in what is expected to be the first in a long-speculated personnel shake-up Donald Trump was understood to be planning to extricate his young presidency from an unending cycle of crises.
Michael Dubke, head of the White House communications team that Trump has tended to blame partly for his continuing miseries, and inability to project his message and defend him adequately, has resigned, citing person reasons. A replacement had not been announced.
“I want to thank Mike Dubke for his service to President Trump and this administration,” White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said in a statement. “We appreciate Mike and are very grateful for his service to President Trump and our country.”
Priebus also said Dubke had tendered his resignation just before Trump left for his first overseas trip but had offered to stay “onboard until a transition is concluded”.
Trump did not mention Dubke in tweets he posted just minutes before the news broke, decrying in one of them the ongoing Russia probe: “Russian officials must be laughing at the US & how a lame excuse for why the Dems (Democrats) lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”
The president also targeted Germany in a tweet, bringing up its trade surplus with the US and not meeting its Nato defence spending commitment. This came just days after Chancellor Angel Merkel’s stunning pronouncement that Europe cannot bank on the US anymore and needs to fend for itself.
FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections and alleged collusion by Trump campaign officials has come to be focussed in recent days on the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and his reported request to the Russians to set up a secret back channel communications system run out of Russian diplomatic facilities to evade American monitoring,
Trump has defended Kushner and is reported to be focussed on personnel shake-up to get ahead of the probe. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer are rumoured to be most vulnerable, despite the president publicly backing them in the past.
Dubke’s is not the first high-profile exit from the Trump White House, which is barely more than five months old. He follows national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was sacked for mischaracterising his interactions with Russians, and Katie Walsh, a deputy chief of staff.