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Trump communications chief Dubke leaving, White House says
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump began his first week back in Washington on Tuesday with news that his communications director is leaving the White House after less than three months on the job.
"It has been my great honor to serve President Trump and this administration," Mike Dubke said in a statement after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News that he'd "expressed his desire to leave the White House".
The news comes amid a series of negative headlines about the president's Russia connections, including reports that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, considered creating a secret back channel to communicate with the Russian government before Mr Trump was sworn in.
Mr Trump has grown increasingly frustrated by the media's coverage of his administration, regularly tweeting his displeasure at news reports.
"It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media," Mr Trump tweeted Sunday.
"Russian officials must be laughing at the US & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News," he added Tuesday.
Ms Conway pushed back against reports that indicated Mr Dubke's departure was part of a broader overhaul in the West Wing.
"In terms of staff shakeups, I always read things that simply aren't true," Ms Conway said.
"I work here every day. It's much more collaborative than people realise."
The White House announced Mr Dubke's hiring March 6 after a rocky start for Mr Trump's communications operation. Mr Dubke, who didn't work on the Trump campaign, joined after campaign spokesman Jason Miller declined to take the communications director position.
"I did not know Mike Dubke before he came on as communications director, did not know him well," Ms Conway said.
"I know he's worked very hard here."
Mr Dubke tendered his resignation May 18, Axios reported earlier, saying his final day hasn't been set yet. Ms Conway said Mr Dubke had agreed to continue working while Mr Trump was away on his first international trip as president.