President Trump decided to dismiss Stephen K. Bannon, after weeks of White House upheaval and racial unrest. The ousted chief strategist returned to Breitbart News on Aug. 18. (Peter Stevenson,Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Update: We’ve added the termination of Steve Bannon to this list.

Jeb Bush once famously argued against Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy by calling Trump a “chaos candidate,” who, if elected, would be a “chaos president.”

That’s a subjective descriptor. But the resignation of Sean Spicer as press secretary on Friday is a reminder that there has been an awful lot of tumult both within the White House and within Trump’s inner circle.

A brief overview of the firings, resignations and disruptions under President Trump:

Jan. 20. Trump is inaugurated. Non-career diplomats who were given ambassador positions by Barack Obama were told to end their service immediately on that day, an unusual move.

Jan. 30. Trump fires Sally Yates, the acting attorney general, when Yates makes clear that she won’t ask the Department of Justice to defend Trump’s immigration ban. Yates was also pivotal in drawing the White House’s attention to national security adviser Michael Flynn’s apparent misrepresentations of his conversations with the Russian ambassador.

Feb. 13. Michael Flynn resigns after 23 days on the job. Flynn’s resignation came after Vice President Pence told CBS News in an interview that Flynn hadn’t discussed sanctions with the ambassador, which he apparently had.

March 2. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any decisions involving Russian meddling in the 2016 election because of his role on Trump’s campaign.

March 10. Sessions abruptly asks 46 U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations, not in itself an unusual move. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for New York’s Southern District, refuses to comply and is fired. He’d been told by Trump that he could retain his position when the two met in November at Trump Tower.

March 30. Katie Walsh, who came to the White House with chief of staff Reince Priebus, was sent out of the administration to ostensibly work for a pro-Trump political committee. She was seen within the West Wing as prone to leaking information.

Since President Trump fired the FBI director, both men have shared conflicting accounts of their relationship. The Fact Checker breaks it down. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

May 9. FBI director James Comey is fired by Trump. His successor has not yet been confirmed.

May 30. White House communications director Mike Dubke resigns after three months on the job.

July 6. The director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub resigns. He later tells the New York Times that he worries the U.S. is “close to a laughingstock” when it comes to holding other countries to high ethical standards.

July 20. Mark Corallo, spokesman for the legal team defending Trump on the Russia investigation, resigns. Lead attorney Marc Kasowitz steps back from that position.

July 21. Press secretary Sean Spicer resigns after Anthony Scaramucci is hired to replace Dubke.

July 25. Assistant press secretary Michael Short resigns after Scaramucci suggests he’s about to be fired.

July 28. Chief of staff Reince Priebus is replaced with John Kelly, who runs the Department of Homeland Security. Priebus claims to have resigned on Thursday.

July 31. Communications director Anthony Scaramucci is removed from his position, apparently at Kelly’s request.

August 16. After a spate of resignations, Trump preemptively disbands two business advisory panels.

August 18. Chief strategist Steve Bannon leaves his position.

On the same day, George Sifakis, the director of the Office of Public Liaison departs as well. Carl Icahn, a business leader regularly cited by Trump on the campaign trail, announces that he’s leaving his position as a special adviser to Trump. All of the members of the President’s Committee on the Arts & the Humanities resign, effectively disbanding the committee.

Overlaid on top of this calendar is the unusually slow pace of appointments from the Trump administration. Trump has formally nominated 271 people to positions, with only 124 confirmed, as of the beginning of the August recess. There are still 365 Senate-confirmable positions for which no nominations have been announced. That’s well behind the pace for other recent presidents.


This list doesn’t include a number of people originally identified as possibly serving in the Trump White House who subsequently withdrew their nominations.

Among those:

  • Possible Comey replacements Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), former FBI official Richard McFeely and former Connecticut senator Joseph I. Lieberman, all of whom withdrew from consideration for the FBI job.
  • Andrew Puzder, who was nominated to run the Department of Labor.
  • Vincent Viola and Mark Green, who withdrew from consideration to serve as secretary of the Army.
  • Philip Bilden, who withdrew from consideration to serve as secretary of the Navy.
  • Todd Ricketts, who withdrew from consideration for deputy secretary of commerce.
  • James Donovan, who withdrew from consideration for deputy secretary of the Treasury.
  • James Clinger, who withdrew from consideration for chairman of the FDIC.
  • David Petraeus and Robert Harward, who withdrew from consideration to replace Michael Flynn.
  • Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), who was nominated to run the Office of Drug Control Policy.
  • Monica Crowley, who was nominated as spokesperson for the National Security Council.
  • George Conway, husband of adviser Kellyanne Conway, who withdrew from consideration for a position at the Department of Justice.

The extent to which any of these resignations, firings or withdrawals affects the day-to-day operation of the White House is unclear. But it’s safe to say that there have been a lot, and that the White House is not the well-oiled machine Trump once argued.

Some might even call it chaotic.