Updated Jan 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Exodus begins for White House staff after pro-Trump siege on Capitol

Trump speech in White House briefing room
Trump shown speaking on a monitor in the White House briefing room about the Capitol insurrection. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President Trump enjoys the fervent support of tens of millions of Americans. But his closest friends and paid White House officials — many of the Trumpiest Trumpers we know — are avoiding him like the plague.

Behind the scenes: The president's final days in office will be lonely ones. Some stalwart aides and confidants — after years of enduring the crazy and trying to modulate the chaos — have given up trying to communicate with him, considering him mentally unreachable.

After Congress certified President-elect Biden's victory, Trump declared in a statement tweeted at 3:49 a.m. by aide Dan Scavino: "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

  • The statement was the product of hours of efforts by aides trying to get him to grapple with reality.

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff and a former White House press secretary, resigned.

  • Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, social secretary Rickie Niceta and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also resigned, officials told AP.
  • Former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who later became special envoy to Northern Ireland, said he resigned Wednesday night: "I can’t do it. I can’t stay." (On Nov. 7, Mulvaney wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined: "If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully.")
  • More departures are expected. Mulvaney told CNBC: “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in."

Trump banned Pence chief of staff Marc Short, among the last loyalists, from the White House yesterday.

  • Trump blames Short for the vice president's decision to follow the Constitution as he presided over the Electoral College certification session.

Go deeper: Republicans enabled Trump. Then, a few strangled him

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