Donald Trump currently holds the highest office in the world, and while many disagree on how he’s handling the responsibilities that come with the office, it’s not a secret that living in the White House comes with a few perks like cooks, butlers, and even screeners of Game of Thrones finales. That knowledge is what makes this latest story out of Washington so insane: according to a source in the Washington Post, Donald Trump once summoned his former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to the Oval Office and asked him to kill a fly. Seriously.
Just as a reminder, the White House Chief of Staff is the highest ranking employee of the White House, and while the responsibilities may differ from president to president, to add “fly killer” to the list sounds rather demeaning.
Priebus has since left the White House. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the final straws for Trump was the fact that Priebus remained quiet after Anthony Scaramucci, who Trump had just recently hired for the White House’s top communications position, told The New Yorker that Priebus was a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic.”
In a Friday night tweet, Trump named his new chief of staff: John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security Secretary. Kelly’s replacement has yet to be named.
I am pleased to inform you that I have just named General/Secretary John F Kelly as White House Chief of Staff. He is a Great American....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
In any case, the fly incident is remarkable for a few reasons. Most importantly, it shows the extent of the breakdown of the relationship between the two men. Priebus, who was the head of the Republican National Committee before joining Trump’s cabinet, had a stormy relationship with the President. Priebus criticized Trump throughout his presidential campaign.
Priebus condemned Trump’s Muslim ban when it was first announced in a campaign speech; Priebus unequivocally denounced Trump’s behavior in the explosive “Access Hollywood” tape scandal, in which a recording of Trump demonstrated misogynist and overall reprehensible behavior. But once it became clear Trump would be the nominee and would have a real shot at the presidency, Priebus began changing his tone. At the Republican National Convention, Priebus said Trump was “the right man to lead.” After Trump tweeted a photo of him eating a taco bowl in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Priebus defended him, telling Politico, “He’s trying. Honestly, he’s trying.”
Somehow, in the six months Trump has been in office (yes, it’s only been six months), his relationship with Priebus deteriorated to the point that Trump saw him as someone fit only for mundane tasks.
A senior White House official told the Washington Post that Trump has been unhappy with Priebus for quite some time. “It reached a fever pitch of the president complaining about Reince to all of us,” the source said. “If we heard it once, we heard it 20 times in the last week — this erosion of confidence. The word was 'weak' — 'weak,' 'weak,' 'weak.' 'Can’t get it done.'”
This is Trump’s second chief of staff in six months. When Obama was in office, Trump criticized him for having three Chiefs of Staff in three years in (you guessed it) a tweet. According to The Hill, “Rahm Emmanuel, Bill Daley and Jack Lew each served as chief of staff for Obama, between 2009 and 2013, before Dennis McDonough stepped into the role. McDonough served through the rest of Obama's tenure.”
3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2012