As President Donald Trump begins the lame-duck phase of his presidency, there is speculation Trump’s rage firing will only get worse in the coming days. U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s firing has raised questions about who Trump could target next.
So who could it be? Here’s a short list of possibilities:
CIA Director Gina Haspel: For weeks now, Trump have been waiting for Haspel to release documents that support the president’s conspiracy theories about the so-called “deep state” and its efforts to undermine his presidential campaign and transition while former President Barack Obama was in office. Since she has not been able to provide substantial evidence of the claims, reports suggest the president and his conservative allies are losing patience with Haspel.
FBI Director Christopher Wray: Trump’s issue with Wray is relatively similar to his frustration with Haspel. It has been reported that Trump is not pleased with Wray’s “failure to produce information that they claim would be harmful to the President’s political enemies, including Biden.” Now, that the election has proven favorable for Biden, Wray may very well be on the chopping block.
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr: Barr could also be on Trump’s target list. In recent months, Barr has been at the center of the president’s complaints over his inability to deliver evidence to support his “Obamagate” conspiracy theory. The president was hoping that investigative report would have been revealed before Election Day, but to no avail. As a result, Barr has been publcily lambasted by the president.
The latest speculation follows a flurry of firings throughout Trump’s four-year presidency. Below is a long list of government officials who have been fired while working in the Trump administration or opted to leave on their own.
BBC News offered a full breakdown of the lengthy list of former Trump administration officials who were either fired or resigned over the span of Trump’s presidency.
- Mark Esper, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense – Fired on November 9, 2020 after months of contention because he disagreed with Trump on many key issues including the invocation of the Insurrection Act.
- Kellyanne Conway, White House Senior counsellor to the president – Resigned on August 23, 2020
- Brad Parscale, Trump’s Campaign Manager – Demoted on July 15, 2020 after being blamed for Trump’s lackluster rally attendance in Tulsa, Okla.
- Mick Mulvaney, Acting White House Chief of Staff – Replaced on March 6, 2020
- Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the EU – Fired on February 7, 2020 after testifying during Trump’s impeachment trial.
- Alexander Vindman, National Security Aide – Also fired on February 7, 2020 after testifying as a witness during Trump’s impeachment case.
- Richard Spencer, U.S. Navy Secretary – Asked to resign on November 24, 2019
- Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security – Resigned on November 13, 2019. In a tweet, Trump announced McAleenan wanted to “spend more time with his family and go into the private sector.”
- John Bolton, National Security Adviser – Fired on September 10, 2019. At the time, Trump took to Twitter as he claimed Bolton’s services “were no longer needed.”
- Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence – Resigned on August 15, 2019
- Alexander Acosta, Labor Secretary – Announced his resignation on July 19, 2019 after top Democrats called for him to resign over his questionable ties and involvement in the 2008 plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein.
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary – Resigned on July 1, 2019
- Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General – Resigned on May 11, 2019
- Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary – Trump withdrew his nomination of Nielson on April 10, 2019 after months of contention between her and the president.
- Brock Long, Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator – On March 8, 2019, Long resigned with no particular reason for his departure other than saying it was “time to go home to my family.”
- Ryan Zinke, Interior Secretary – On January 2, 2019, Trump tweeted that Zinke would be leaving the administration. However, it remains unclear whether he was fired or opted to resign.
- John Kelly, Chief of Staff – On January 2, 2019 after reports suggested Kelly and the president had a strained relationship that was further eroding.
- Jim Mattis, U.S. Department of Defense Secretary – Resigned on January 1, 2019
- Nikki Haley, Ambassador to the UN – On December 31, 2018, Haley announced her departure
- Jeff Sessions, U.S. Attorney General – On November 7, 2018, Sessions resigned after months of being targeted and publicly demeaned by the president over the investigation into the Trump campaign for possibly colluding with Russian operatives to swing the election.
- Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – On July 6, 2018, Pruitt’s resignation was announced by Trump via Twitter. The decision was made due to “unrelenting attacks” Pruitt and his family faced.
- HR McMaster, National Security Adviser – Fired on April 9, 2018
- Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Adviser – Resigned on April 2, 2018 after Trump blamed “both sides” for violence that erupted at the deadly right-wing rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State – Departure announced on March 31, 2018 after repeated clashes with the president.
- Hope Hicks, White House Communications Director – Resigned on March 29, 2018 just one day after her testimony before the Congressional panel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs Secretary – Departed on March 28, 2018 amid accusations of improper behavior during a trip to Europe in 2017.
- Rob Porter, White House Staff Secretary – Resigned on February 7, 2018 just two weeks after both of his ex-wives came forward with allegations of “physical and emotional abuse.”
- Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director – Fired on January 29, 2018 by then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions
- Tom Price, Health Secretary – Departed on September 29, 2017 after it was discovered he had spent more than $1 million on flights in just five of the eight months he held the position. Trump was reportedly “not happy” with Price’s extravagant spending.
- Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist – Fired on August 18, 2017
- Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director – Departed on July 31 2017 just 10 days after joining the Trump administration.
- Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff – Fired on July 31, 2017 after Trump lost confidence in his ability to repeal Obamacare.
- Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary – Departed on July 21, 2017
- James Comey, FBI director – Fired on May 9, 2017 just four months after Trump was inaugurated
- Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser – On February 13, 2017, the president asked Flynn to resign.
- Sally Yates, Acting U.S. Attorney General – Fired by Trump on January 30, 2017 just 10 days after he took office.
- Preet Bharara, New York federal prosecutor – Asked by the Trump administration to resign on March 11, 2017 while overseeing an investigation into a string of sexual harassment cases connected to the president.
Although the White House is far different from Trump’s show “The Apprentice,” he has governed in similar fashion. The president’s long history of firing may be an indication of what the American public can expect in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration.