White House speechwriter David Sorensen resigned Friday amid domestic abuse allegations.
Sorensen’s ex-wife first told The Washington Post that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their two and a half years of marriage. Sorensen has denied the allegations, claiming that he was the victim of domestic violence in the marriage.
White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned his position earlier this month following reports that he abused his two ex-wives.
A growing number of people have left the Trump administration in just over a year – a group that includes former press secretary Sean Spicer, FBI director James Comey and chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Read on for a running list of who has left since Trump took office.
White House speechwriter David Sorensen resigned on Feb. 9 amid domestic abuse allegations.
Sorensen’s ex-wife first told The Washington Post that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their marriage. He has denied the allegations.
Sorensen’s position did not require a security clearance, the White House said, adding that his background check was ongoing.
Sorensen worked as a senior adviser to Gov. Paul LePage, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Rachel Brand is stepping down from her position, Fox News confirmed on Feb. 9. Brand is an associate attorney general in the Department of Justice.
Brand, the No. 3 official in the DOJ, served in the role for nine months before accepting a job with Walmart. She will serve as the retail giant’s executive vice president, global governance and corporate secretary.
White House staff secretary Rob Porter announced his resignation from the Trump administration on Feb. 7 following reports that he abused his two ex-wives.
Porter’s ex-wives told the Daily Mail that he was physically and mentally abusive.
Porter denied the “outrageous allegations” and resigned from his position.
“I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign,” Porter said.
Two days after the resignation, Trump wished the former staffer well, saying he hopes Porter has “a great career ahead of him.” He said the allegations were “very sad” and stressed that Porter has maintained his innocence.
McCabe was “removed” from his position as the No. 2 figure at the FBI and is on “terminal leave,” a source told Fox News.
He has been repeatedly criticized by Trump since 2016 when it was revealed that his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, had accepted campaign contributions from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally, during a failed state Senate run.
“I can say the president wasn’t part of this decision-making process,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press conference.
Omarosa Manigault Newman
A former “Apprentice” star, Omarosa Manigault Newman joined the Trump administration as the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison to work on outreach to various contingency groups.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Dec. 13 that Manigault Newman’s last day with the administration would be on Jan. 20 – exactly one year since Trump’s inauguration.
Manigault Newman reportedly drew scrutiny from White House chief of staff John Kelly. She also came under fire for bringing her 39-person bridal party to the White House for a photo shoot in 2017.
Richard Cordray resigned from his post as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Nov. 24, 2017, setting off a fight between his former chief of staff and the White House over who will replace him.
Cordray’s resignation didn’t come as a surprise; he had previously said he would quit his job by the end of November. But many thought his resignation would set up Trump to appoint his own director of an agency that has been widely criticized by his administration and Republicans alike.
However, before his resignation, Cordray elevated his chief of staff Leandra English to the deputy director position – meaning she would become acting CFPB director after he quit. But the White House announced Mick Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, as its interim director.
Tom Price officially resigned from his post as Health and Human Services Secretary on Sept. 29, 2017, according to a White House statement.
The move came after Price received major criticism following reports of his use of private planes.
Price had promised to repay the government for the use of his costly flights and vowed never to take a private charter plane again while in his post as secretary but was ultimately let go anyway.
The White House announced that Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to Trump, was no longer a part of the administration during a Friday evening news dump on Aug. 25, 2017.
White House officials told Fox News that Gorka did not resign but confirmed that he “no longer works” with the administration.
However, Gorka insisted to the Washington Examiner that he did actually resign.
A former Breitbart news editor, Gorka joined the Trump administration as a counterterrorism adviser and assisted with national security policy decisions alongside Bannon, according to White House sources.
Steve Bannon was removed from his position as White House chief strategist on Aug. 18, 2017.
The Breitbart News chief joined Trump’s presidential campaign and was later appointed to a senior adviser role after Trump won the election.
Bannon, the hardcore populist, had become increasingly isolated inside the White House following John Kelly’s appointment as chief of staff, sources inside the White House and outside advisers told Fox News.
A White House aide told Fox News that Bannon’s ouster wasn’t sudden; he submitted his resignation in writing several weeks prior, the aide said.
The announcement of Anthony Scaramucci as the White House communications director on July 21, 2017, set into motion a big shakeup in White House staff.
But Scaramucci himself lasted only 10 days in the White House. He was reportedly removed at the request of new White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Kelly was sworn in as chief of staff just hours before Scaramucci was removed.
Trump announced Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as his new White House chief of staff on July 28, 2017, effectively ousting Reince Priebus.
The replacement of Preibus as chief of staff came amid tensions between he and Scaramucci, the White House communications director at the time.
White House assistant press secretary Michael Short resigned on July 25, 2017, after Scaramucci informed Politico of his intent to fire him.
“This is the problem with the leaking,” Scaramucci reportedly told reporters. “This is actually a terrible thing. Let’s say I’m firing Michael Short today. The fact that you guys know about it before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic.”
After the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci, White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation on July 21, 2017.
Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub Jr. announced on July 6, 2017 that he was resigning from his job after clashing with Trump. His final date in office was July 19.
In his position, Shaub was often at odds with the Trump administration, particularly when it came to Trump’s business dealings.
Shaub joined the Campaign Legal Center, an organization in Washington that mostly focuses on violations of campaign finance law.
While former White House communications director Michael Dubke tendered his resignation quietly on May 18, 2017, he stayed on with the administration until after the president’s first foreign trip.
He said that he resigned due to “personal” reasons.
Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey in a brief letter on May 9, 2017, saying Comey could not “effectively lead” the bureau any longer.
Trump repeatedly criticized Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, and Comey said after his firing that he felt uncomfortable by comments Trump made about the FBI’s investigation into Flynn.
Comey reportedly was speaking to employees in Los Angeles when news of his ousting came across the television. At the time, according to reports, Comey thought it was a prank.
Deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh resigned on March 30, 2017, after a Trump-backed health care bill failed to make it through the House, according to The Associated Press.
She left the White House to join the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies.
Walsh came to the White House after serving in the Republican National Committee under then-chairman Reince Priebus.
Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara was fired on March 11, 2017, after he declined to willingly resign from his job.
The Justice Department said attorneys general who were holdovers from the Obama administration needed to resign. Bharara refused to do so.
“I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired,” Bharara tweeted. “Being the US Attorney in [the Southern District of New York] will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life.”
Michael Flynn, Trump’s embattled national security adviser, resigned on Feb. 13, 2017, after it was revealed that he apparently lied about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador.
“I have nothing to be ashamed for and everything to be proud of,” Flynn told Fox News at the time.
Taking over as acting attorney general following the departure of Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates was removed from her position on January 30, 2017.
Yates refused to enforce Trump’s controversial travel ban and issued a memo to the Justice Department not to defend the executive order.
Fox News’ Kristin Brown, Jake Gibson, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Trump cowboy plots political future after Capitol breach
TULAROSA, N.M. — He rodeoed in a Buffalo Bill-style Wild West show, carried his message on horseback from the Holy Land to Times Square and was invited to the White House to meet the president.
But luck may have run out for this cowboy pastor who rode to national political fame by embracing former President Donald Trump with a series of horseback caravans and came crashing down with a defiant stand Jan. 6 against President Joe Biden’s election.
Today, Couy Griffin is divorced, disparaged by family and confronts a political recall drive, a state corruption investigation and federal charges.
And yet he remains determined. He sees himself as governor one day.
The first-term county commissioner forged a group of rodeo acquaintances in 2019 into a promotional Cowboys for Trump posse to spread his conservative message about gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions.
Trump’s election defeat has left the 47-year-old father in a lonely fight for his political life after preaching to crowds at the U.S. Capitol siege, promising to take his guns to Biden’s inauguration and landing in jail for over a week.
In Washington, prosecutors unveiled photographs of Griffin climbing a toppled fence and another barrier to access the Capitol steps.
Public defense attorneys say a close reading of the law shows the area wasn’t off limits. They say Griffin didn’t partake in violence and was well within his free speech rights as he voiced election grievances and attempted to lead a prayer with a bullhorn.
Griffin is one of thousands of Trump loyalists in public office who are charting an uncertain future ahead of the 2022 election cycle. He’s part of a smaller cadre who flirted with insurrection on Trump’s behalf and may still pay a high price. In all, more than 400 people were charged in the insurrection, which left five dead and dozens of officers injured.
Griffin has been rebuked by some Republicans over his racial invective. He’s also been suspended from Facebook and banished from Native American lands in his district as he contests charges of breaking into the Capitol grounds and disrupting Congress that could carry a one-year sentence. A recall effort is underway, amid a bevy of lawsuits.
Still, loyal constituents are easy to come by in a rural county steeped in the anti-establishment, pro-gun culture that dominates southern New Mexico.
“He means no malice on anybody,” said George Seeds, outside the New Heart Cowboy Church in Alamogordo where Griffin once served as pastor. “His concern is the direction of this country, where it’s going.”
Defiance of federal government and its oversight of public lands are staples of politics in Otero County, which spans an area three times the size of Delaware, from the dunes of White Sands National Park to the peaks of the Lincoln National Forest.
Banned from Washington until testimony or trial, Griffin has returned to the routines of home in a tidy double-wide trailer in Tularosa, working most days as a stone mason. A donkey named Henry brays from a side yard.
In a conversation with The Associated Press, Griffin says he learned to love the spotlight during five years as an expert rodeo hand in a Wild West show at Paris’ Disneyland park.
His rides with Cowboys for Trump through numerous states were a reprise of proselytizing trips he made from Ireland to Jerusalem, before social media, to hand out the Gospel of John.
The group captivated the public imagination with its first outing, a 2019 flag-waving ride down the shore of the Potomac River to Arlington National Cemetery.
Ramie Harper, a 67-year-old former bull rider from Fruitland, took a break from making custom hats to join the caravan.
“They loved it,” Harper said. “We was on ‘Fox & Friends’ the next day.”
With calls for an independent investigation of the Capitol siege blocked by Senate Republicans, Griffin is out on bail and speaking his mind.
He’s an advocate for stricter state voting laws and a die-hard opponent of COVID-19 restrictions who says “hell no” to taking the vaccine.
Griffin still wears a monogrammed Cowboys for Trump shirt to commission meetings. But his allegiance to Trump has wavered.
“I don’t have the same confidence in him,” Griffin said. “Whenever you say, ‘China stole the election. … The election was stolen from me,’ and then you just walk away? That’s hard for me to accept.”
He says his obsession with politics has taken a toll, contributing to his 2019 divorce and tensions with relatives.
“I’ve had my own family say some pretty nasty things,” Griffin said. “It’s been real hard.”
With Trump or without, Griffin still ascribes to unsubstantiated claims of massive 2020 election fraud.
He yearns to someday run for governor even though state GOP leaders are openly scornful and Democrats hold every statewide elected office.
More immediately, Griffin is eyeing an open 2022 sheriff’s race in another New Mexico county where he grew up. His grandfather Wee Griffin held the Catron County post from 1963 to 1966. Trump won there in 2020 with 73% of the vote.
Griffin has cast Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as his political nemesis on issues of gun control, abortion and pandemic restrictions. He’d like to reinvent the sheriff’s role as a brake on the governor’s power.
“The county sheriff’s sole duty and responsibility is to protect our individual rights,” he said. “You think that the governor hates me as a county commissioner — put a gun and a badge on me, and we’ll see.”
Jeff Swanson, chairman of the Otero County Democratic Party, says Griffin’s divisive remarks hinder county efforts to secure state infrastructure spending, and he has engaged in intimidation by recording Cowboys for Trump videos from his office with a shotgun within view.
In Alamogordo, Griffin’s rhetoric on race has steeled the determination of opponents who want him out of office.
Griffin delivered a scathing rebuke last year as the NFL announced game-opening renditions of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem.
“They want to destroy our country,” Griffin said in a video monologue. “I got a better idea. Why don’t you go back to Africa and form your little football teams. … You can play on an old beat-out dirt lot.”
Everette Brown, a Marine veteran and information technology specialist at Holloman Air Force Base who is Black, said that comment shows politics have changed Griffin, whom he once respected.
“I’m a big boy. I can handle a lot. And that was one that got me,” said Brown, part of a committee seeking to recall Griffin.
For now, Griffin has halted the petition with an appeal to the state Supreme Court, which hasn’t decided whether to intervene. Meanwhile, state prosecutors are investigating allegations Griffin used his office in coordination with Cowboys for Trump for personal financial gain, and signed a child-support check to his ex-wife from his Cowboys for Trump account.
Griffin has acknowledged using the county building for promotional videos but said he never claimed they were affiliated with Otero County. He also says Cowboys for Trump is a for-profit company, not a political group.
Donnie Reynolds, a 51-year-old sales associate at an Alamogordo hardware store, says Griffin is being targeted for ties to Trump.
He says Griffin is right about lots of things, like the need for a border wall.
“They’re going find out he didn’t have anything to do with these types of things,” he said. “They’re going to eat some crow.”
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