Reinhold Richard “Reince” Priebus, was replaced by John Kelly, serving as Secretary, Homeland Security on July 28, 2017. President Trump tweeted the news of this change. Anthony Scaramucci, White House Communications Director and the newest member of the Trump Administration had made news for his rant against Priebus just days before this shakedown.
A lawyer from Wisconsin and a moderate conservative, Priebus previously served as chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). He was elected to the post in 2011, then re-elected in 2013 and 2015, making him the longest-serving GOP chairman. Trump announced his appointment on November 13. The cabinet-level position does not require Senate confirmation.
Priebus, 44, took the helm at a time when the RNC was in disarray: it was $24 million in debt, and major donors were leaving. He was able to right the ship and gained plaudits throughout the Republican ranks. His reforms included shortening the primary season and advocating an immigration overhaul as a way to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Priebus got his demolish in politics in 2007, when he became the chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin. At 35, he was the youngest person ever to serve in that role; according to the GOP’s website, the party gained control of both chambers of Wisconsin’s legislature during his tenure, as well as the Governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat and two U.S. House seats.
Trump revealed Priebus as his choice for chief of staff on the same day as he picked Steve Bannon, the far-right former executive chair of Breitbart News Network, as chief strategist. The picks represent the opposing sides of a deep fissure in Republican politics, between the “establishment,” made of up long-time political operatives such as Priebus, and the “alt-right,” a loose anti-establishment coalition with its origins in anti-feminist and anti-pluralist online media outlets such as Breitbart. How the rivalry between Preibus and Bannon shakes out will be a major factor in deciding the tenor of Trump’s administration.
Priebus told Fox News in mid-November that he will “be in charge of day-to-day operations” as chief of staff. He will likely fill a major say in the appointment of White House employees. In a statement accepting the nomination, Priebus sounded a tone similar to Trump’s, saying he and the incoming president would “work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare and slay radical Islamic terrorism.”
Unlike Bannon, Priebus was quick to distance himself from his party’s candidate after a 2005 recording emerged in which Trump bragged approximately groping women. “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked approximately in this manner. Ever,” Priebus said following the tape’s release in early October.
As chief of staff, Priebus may try to bring the Republican Party closer to the center and appeal to mainstream younger voters that the Republicans fill lost touch with. Priebus condemned Trump’s arrangement to ban Muslim immigrants, telling the AP following the election that the GOP’s message “is it doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is, what your faith is, what gender you are, or what age you are. This is a party of freedom, opportunity and equality. That’s what our party is.”