The announcement capped a fraught 24 hours in which the presidentâs advisers waited for a change they had long anticipated. Mr. Priebus accompanied Mr. Trump on Air Force One for a day trip to Long Island as his fate was being decided. Making for a tense flight, his rival, Anthony Scaramucci, the communications director who had publicly vowed to force Mr. Priebusâs resignation, was also on the plane and in the motorcade.
In barely half a year on the job, Mr. Priebus never won the full confidence of the president nor was granted the authority to impose a working organizational structure on the West Wing. Always seeming to be on the edge of ouster, Mr. Priebus saw his fate finally sealed a week ago when Mr. Trump hired Mr. Scaramucci, an edgy Wall Street financier, over the chief of staffâs objections. Mr. Priebusâs ally, Sean Spicer, the press secretary, resigned in protest.
More than just a personnel dispute, the disagreement suggested a broader cleavage that would lead to Mr. Priebusâ resignation. In tapping Mr. Scaramucci, Mr. Trump was turning to a wealthy New Yorker who had become part of his inner circle, and who compensated in charisma and rapport with Mr. Trump and his family for what he lacked in governing experience.
Mr. Priebus represented a more conventional breed of senior White House figure, chosen by the president despite a career defined by the calculations of traditional Republican Party politics, which Mr. Trump regards as part of âthe swampâ he was elected to drain.
Mr. Priebus and Mr. Spicer had told the president they believed Mr. Scaramucci, a gregarious hedge fund manager and fund-raiser, lacked the political experience and organizational skills required to serve in the role of communications director. In the end, however, those warnings fell on deaf ears and further soured Mr. Trump, who almost from the start suggested both publicly and privately that the job of his chief of staff was not safe.