Priebus: Trump 'Intuitively Determined That It Was Time to Do Something Differently'

Priebus: Trump 'Intuitively Determined That It Was Time to Do Something Differently'
White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino, left, and former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive July 28, 2017, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In his first television interview after his resignation was announced, outgoing White House chief of staff Reince Priebus called his departure after just six months in the West Wing “a good time to hit the reset button” and allegations that he was a White House leaker “ridiculous.”


“I have been obviously talking to the president for a few days about this and ultimately I formally resigned yesterday,” Priebus told CNN. “And, you know, the president was great. He wanted to include me in figuring out how and who would be a great successor and a good chief of staff. I think General Kelly is a brilliant pick. I just, like I said, talked to him, talked to the president. We’ll be working on a transition here for a couple of weeks together with General Kelly starting on Monday morning.”

“So, this isn’t — this is not like a situation where there is a bunch of ill will feelings. This is, I think, good for the president. I think it’s smart for him to pick General Kelly, and I think that things are going to be run very well.”

Priebus would not get specific on the reason for his resignation, other than “it was something that I have always talked to the president about,” that if at “any time either one of us think that we need to make a change or move in a different direction, let’s just talk about it and get it done.”

“I think the president thought about that and we talked about it yesterday. And I resigned and he accepted my resignation,” he added. “But this is about the president. It is about moving his agenda forward. I think he made a smart decision with General Kelly, and I think he’s going to do a great job. And I’m looking forward to the future.”


Priebus declared he’s “always going to be a Trump fan” — “I’m on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people.” He laughed off rumors that he would be headed to Greece as ambassador, saying it’s “not going to happen.”

“I think the president wanted to go a different direction. I support him in that. And like I said a couple weeks ago, I said the president has a right to change directions. A president has a right to hit a reset button,” he said, stressing Trump “intuitively determined that it was time to do something differently, and I think he’s right.”

Asked when he knew that his time at the White House was coming to an end, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee replied, “I’m not going to get into that.”

Asked about White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s profane comments to New Yorker magazine, Priebus chuckled. “I’m not going to respond to it. I’m not going to get into the mud on those sorts of things,” he said.

He also wouldn’t comment on his reported opposition to a West Wing appointment for Scaramucci. “Look, it’s over. I’m moving on. Support the president, and I support John Kelly and the president’s agenda. So, that’s all you’re going to get from me on that. I’m not going to get into the individual personal stuff.”


Priebus also praised chief strategist Steve Bannon as “a brilliant guy who only cares about the president’s agenda.”

“He thinks about it 24 hours a day. Never quits. He’s a great asset to this president. And, so — and a dear friend,” he said. “My hat is off to Steve Bannon.”

Priebus acknowledged there is a problem with White House leaks and Kelly “should see if he could get to the bottom of it and figure it out.”

“But obviously unnamed sources are something that’s been problematic and I wish him well and I’m going to try to help him,” he added. “But obviously that’s going to be on his plate and I hope he can get to the bottom of it.”

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