WASHINGTON — The Latest on staffing upheaval at the White House (all times local):
The White House press secretary says President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, isn’t leaving his job.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” that “Gen. McMaster isn’t going anywhere,” despite reports that he’s joining the throng of advisers departing the administration. The president, she said Friday, thinks McMaster is doing a “great job.”
Sanders said White House communications director Hope Hicks is leaving to “maybe take a little bit of a break and have some time for herself.”
As for talk of a White House in upheaval, Sanders pointed out the tax cuts passed late last year: “If they want to call it chaos, fine, but we call it success and productivity and we’re going to keep plugging along.”
The White House has been rattled by two weeks of muddled messages, departures and spitting matches between the president and his own top officials. Now Donald Trump is facing a shrinking circle of trusted advisers and a staff that’s grim about any prospect of a reset.
Even by the standards of Trump’s often chaotic administration, the announcement of Hope Hicks’ imminent exit spread new levels of anxiety across the West Wing and cracked open disputes that had been building. One of Trump’s most loyal and longest-serving aides, his director of communications often served as human buffer between the unpredictable president and the business of government.
Hicks’ departure comes as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation appears to be circling the Oval Office.