A map of the feuds and frustrations splitting the Trump White House

Hope Hicks' abrupt resignation and Jared Kushner's security clearance issues are only the latest in a torrent of stor...

Posted: Mar. 1, 2018 5:38 PM
Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 6:15 AM

Hope Hicks' abrupt resignation and Jared Kushner's security clearance issues are only the latest in a torrent of stories about staff tensions since the first days of President Donald Trump's White House. The characters and specific storylines rotate, but the theme -- staffers pitted against each other yo-yoed in and out of favor by the mercurial boss in the Oval Office -- stays the same.

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CNN's Kevin Liptak documents the latest drama in his story, "White House meltdown on full display," which chronicles the seething anger of President Donald Trump and the lack of any remedy for his chaotic underlings to help him turn the page.

Here is a non-exhuastive list, in no particular order, of some of the feuds and frustrations we've seen involving White House staffers and Cabinet officials. We've left out serious policy disagreements that led to firings and focused instead on the internal squabbles that have seized headlines. We've also left out most frustrations between Trump and his Cabinet members, including only those featuring his attorney general and secretary of state, since they have been reciprocated. You could make an argument to include others, but those feel like they extend outside the White House.

Donald Trump vs. Hope Hicks

After Hicks, who was involved in a romantic relationship with Rob Porter, took a hand in drafting Kelly's initial gushing defense of him, Trump reportedly grew frustrated with his communications director for putting her own interests ahead of his own. She also drew fire after admitting to House investigators that she told white lies on behalf of the President.

*Hicks resigned February 28.

Reince Priebus vs. Steve Bannon

The original chief of staff and the original ideas man -- a yin and yang of official Republicans and movement conservatives -- started off on equal footing, outlasted reports of initial tension and ultimately put on a very public show of unity at CPAC in 2017. Now, both have been gone from the White House for months. Priebus has largely gone underground and Bannon flew too close to the sun, falling out of favor with Trump after the candidate he pushed cost Republicans a Senate seat in deep-red Alabama.

*Neither man works at the White House anymore.

Steve Bannon vs. Gary Cohn

Bannon, now gone, called for Cohn, still there, to step down in September 2017 after Cohn, who is Jewish, criticized Trump's "both sides" response to the violence in Charlottesville. Protesters there had ranted against Jews.

"If you don't like what (Trump's) doing, and you don't agree with it, you have an obligation to resign," Bannon told CBS News.

*Bannon has since been fired.

John Kelly vs. Anthony Scaramucci

Kelly kicked off his time as chief of staff by booting Scaramucci, 10 days after his hiring as communications director, who had about 48 hours earlier gone on an obscene, on-the-record rant against a host of White House officials. Scaramucci returned the favor -- or tried -- at the height of the Rob Porter scandal, publicly calling on Kelly to resign over his handling of the abuse allegations against the erstwhile staff secretary.

*Scaramucci was fired.

Reince Priebus vs. Anthony Scaramucci

After accusing Priebus of being a serial leaker, and suggesting the FBI get involved, Scaramucci during a memorably odd interview with CNN compared their relationship to the fratricidal biblical siblings, Cain and Abel.

"We have had odds we have had differences," Scaramucci told CNN's Chris Cuomo. "When I said we were brothers from the podium, that's because we're rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don't know if this is repairable or not, that will be up to the President."

Priebus would be out days later, and Scaramucci days after him. Earlier in February, Scaramucci told Vanity Fair that Priebus was mostly friendly to his face, but like a Star Wars "Sith Lord behind your back."

*Neither man works at the White House anymore.

Sean Spicer vs. Anthony Scaramucci

Spicer, an ally of Priebus, was so dismayed by Scaramucci's being named communications director that he stepped down as press secretary.

*Neither man works at the White House anymore.

John Kelly vs. Jared Kushner

Currently the hottest ongoing feud at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. pits the chief of staff against Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser. The source of the tension now is the FBI's refusal to sign off on a full security clearance for Kushner, who's been working with interim credentials. Kelly last week took Kushner down a peg, cutting off his open access to any top secret material.

*Both are still employed at the White House.

John Kelly vs. Omarosa

It's believed that Kelly led the charge against Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who goes way back with Trump (to when she was a contestant on "The Apprentice), and was initially hired as a top communications official at the White House Office of Public Liaison. Kelly's rise appeared to coincide with her fall. That no one ever seemed entirely sure what she actually did certainly didn't help the situation.

*Manigault-Newman no longer works at the White House.

Mike Flynn vs. Mike Pence

Before his ouster less than a month after the inauguration, former national security adviser Michael Flynn is said to have misled Vice President Mike Pence about his past chatter with now-former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn has since apologized to Pence, but questions over what the vice president knew and when remain.

*Flynn was fired and has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller. Mike Pence is still the vice president.

Donald Trump vs. Steve Bannon

The relationship between the President and former campaign chief stayed friendly even after Bannon was let go last year. But things went sour in 2018 after the publication of "Fire and Fury," Michael Wolff's White House tell-all. In the book, Bannon is quoted describing the 2016 sit-down between Trump campaign officials (including Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort) and a Russian lawyer as potentially "treasonous." Reporter Joshua Green later revealed that, after leaving the White House, Bannon was quite angry and said he'd grown "sick of being a wet nurse to a 71-year-old man."

In between those two quotes going public, Trump lashed out at his former chief strategist, downplaying his role on the campaign and saying in a statement, "When (Bannon) was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

*Bannon was fired.

Donald Trump vs. Jeff Sessions

Sessions was the first sitting senator to back Trump. For his trouble, the attorney general's been one of the President's most consistent targets for criticism. The reason? Trump was infuriated when Sessions recused himself from any investigation into the 2016 campaign. Worse, Trump tends to make his statements very publicly, usually via Twitter, where he roasted Sessions again on Wednesday morning.

*Sessions is still the attorney general.

Donald Trump vs. Rex Tillerson

In October 2017, it was first reported that Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" during a meeting with officials at the Pentagon. Not long after, Trump responded, in an interview with Forbes, by challenging his secretary of state to a contest of sorts.

"I think it's fake news, but if he did (say) that, I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests," Trump said. "And I can tell you who is going to win."

*Tillerson is still secretary of state.

John Kelly vs. Donald Trump

Kelly has several times either threatened to resign, offered to resign, or considered resigning. He's been in office since July of 2017. Most recently, Kelly came under the gun for his handling of the Porter mess. He also reportedly drew Trump's ire after it was revealed he told a group of Democratic lawmakers that some of the President's past comments on immigration were "not fully informed."

*Kelly is still the White House chief of staff.

Donald Trump vs. Jared Kushner

Back in March, Trump fumed that Kushner, one of his top aides, went off to ski in Aspen with Ivanka Trump and their kids as the fight over the Congressional GOP's Obamacare repeal plan went south. As a source close to Trump told CNN's Kate Bennett at the time, the President "is upset that his son-in-law and senior adviser was not around during this crucial week."

*Kushner is still employed and still the President's son-in-law.

Donald Trump vs. Sean Spicer

Trump niggled and embarrassed his first press secretary repeatedly. First over his performance on the day after the inauguration, when Spicer was trotted out to insist that the crowd watching was the largest ever. (Trump didn't like his tone or his suit.) Later on, during a trip the Vatican, Spicer, a Catholic, was left out of the group that got to meet Pope Francis.

*Spicer was fired.

Donald Trump vs. Gary Cohn

Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has kept a mostly low profile at the White House. He was reportedly frustrated after Trump's defense of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, but ultimately decided to stay at the White House. But that pretty much coincided with the end of him being discussed as a possible Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

*Cohn is still the director of the National Economic Council.

Donald Trump vs. H.R. McMaster

Less public than some of the others has been simmering tension between Trump and H.R. McMaster, the general who serves as National Security Advisor and took the job after Flynn was fired. Trump upbraided McMaster on Twitter recently and the White House is thought to be looking for a replacement.

*McMaster is still National Security Advisor.

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