Speculation of a major White House shakeup is growing, as reports of tensions between President Donald Trump’s top advisers continue to emerge. And if there’s anything the president is especially adept at, it’s firing people.
At his Florida resort in Mar-a-Lago this week, Trump reportedly brought together chief strategist Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner to try and hash out rumored tensions. Kushner recently took on more responsibilities within the White House, while Bannon has seen his own role shrink.
Kushner, the husband of the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, was quickly folded into the commander in chief’s inner circle following the election. Kushner has already developed a close relationship with the Chinese government and he was pictured in Iraq this week, awkwardly sporting a flak jacket on top of a blazer as he met with top military brass.
His approach apparently hasn’t set well with Bannon. Botched executive orders and the failure of a health care bill have created tension between the two. And it all came to a head this week, when new details emerged that Kushner had played a pivotal role in kicking Bannon off the National Security Council.
Each has accused the other of planting negative stories about them in the media, White House aides told Politico. Following Bannon’s removal from the NCS, The Daily Beast reported that Bannon allegedly called Kushner a “cuck” and “globalist.” Sources told the publication that Bannon thought Kushner tried to “shiv him and push him out the door.”
White House aides told The New York Times that the president hoped this weekend’s Mar-a-Lago meeting would help smooth tensions. But Axios and The Wall Street Journal have reported that Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus could be demoted or downright dismissed.
White House sources told The Huffington Post that the president is considering replacing Priebus with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who currently serves as Trump’s top economic adviser.
For all the obvious infighting, the administration is still staying firm in its stance that everything is going according to plan.
“I think first of all a very high amount of tension in the White House is normal,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich told the New York Times. “I think they have particular tension right now because the health bill failed.”
The White House has also denied reports of a staff shakeup, writing in a statement that “the only thing we are shaking up is the way Washington operates as we push the president’s aggressive agenda forward.”