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Trump fires communications chief Scaramucci in new White House upheaval

Anthony Scaramucci.jpg
US President Donald Trump fired his communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, on Monday over an obscene tirade, just over a week after naming him to the job, sources familiar with the decision said, in the latest staff upheaval to hit the Republican's six-month-old administration.

[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump fired his communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, on Monday over an obscene tirade, just over a week after naming him to the job, sources familiar with the decision said, in the latest staff upheaval to hit the Republican's six-month-old administration.

The move took place on the first day of work for Mr Trump's new chief of staff, retired Marine Corps General John Kelly, who sources said was seeking to impose order and discipline on a White House riven with factions and backbiting. "There's a new sheriff in town," said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser.

An administration official said Mr Kelly had asked for Mr Scaramucci's removal. "A great day at the White House!" Mr Trump tweeted on Monday evening.

The departure of Mr Scaramucci followed one of the rockiest weeks of Mr Trump's presidency in which a major Republican effort to overhaul the US healthcare system failed in Congress and both his spokesman and previous chief of staff left their jobs as White House infighting burst into the open.

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Mr Scaramucci was damaged by comments he made to The New Yorker magazine last week in which he attacked then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Mr Trump's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in profanity-laden terms.

"The president certainly felt that Anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position," spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.

In a change from previous procedure at the Trump White House, all staff will now report to Mr Kelly, including Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Ms Sanders said.

A Republican official close to the White House said Kelly had been given wide authority to impose order on the unruly Trump White House.

"Things will run with regular order," the official said, adding that even the president's daughter and her husband, who both have senior roles at the White House, are "not above the law." At a dinner on Saturday night at Trump's hotel near the White House, Trump told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to expect some staff changes, the official said. Kelly attended the dinner as well.

Scaramucci, an abrasive New York financier, was named to the communications role only 10 days ago. He founded the SkyBridge Capital hedge fund investment business in 2005.

INNER CIRCLE Tensions in Trump's inner circle erupted last week when Scaramucci assailed Priebus and Bannon, two of the West Wing's most senior figures. He accused Priebus of leaking information to the media. Priebus later resigned.

Trump appeared on Monday with Kelly in the Oval Office and in a Cabinet meeting where he predicted the new chief of staff would do a "spectacular job." He praised Kelly for his tenure overseeing border security issues at the Department of Homeland Security. "With a very controversial situation, there's been very little controversy, which is really amazing by itself," Trump said.

Republicans fear that staff chaos at the White House could derail any attempt to revive efforts to repeal and replace the Obamacare healthcare law and a plan to overhaul the US tax system.

The US dollar hit a more than 2-1/2-year low against the euro on Monday on month-end portfolio adjustments and uncertainty over the US political outlook after Scaramucci's departure.

Aside from domestic challenges, Mr Trump is weighing how to respond to North Korea's latest missile test - a sore point between Washington and Beijing. Trump has been critical of China, North Korea's closest ally, saying it should do more to rein in Pyongyang.

He is also dealing with several investigations into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, and has been frustrated that the probes are also looking into potential collusion by his campaign. Moscow rejects the charge it tried to swing the election in Mr Trump's favour, and Mr Trump denies his campaign had anything to do with such interference.

REUTERS

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