Donald Trump says White House staff are fighting over who loves him the most

The President dismissed stories about White House infighting in a recent Wall Street Journal interview

Emily Shugerman
New York
Wednesday 26 July 2017 17:52 BST
President Donald Trump speaks about the healthcare vote during a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri
President Donald Trump speaks about the healthcare vote during a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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President Donald Trump has cast aside stories about White House infighting, describing the leaks as employees bickering over “who loves me the most”.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Trump said his Justice Department should start cracking down on federal employees who leak to the media – except those who have positive things to say about him.

“Number one, they should go after the leakers in intelligence,” he said. “I don’t mean the White House stuff where they’re fighting over who loves me the most, OK? It’s just stupid people doing that.”

It’s unclear which stories Mr Trump was referencing in his comments, which elicited laughter from the room. But the press has been replete with stories about White House intrigue in recent days, as the Trump administration has undergone a dramatic staffing shakeup.

Last week, the President appointed former Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci to lead his communications team, despite protest from his top advisers. Shortly thereafter, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation, saying, “Organisationally, they need to get a fresh start”.

Mr Scaramucci seems inclined to provide that fresh start, telling reporters he will “fire everybody” if leaks from the White House continue.

“I’m going to fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it,” Mr Scaramucci said. “You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to be fired.”

The first casualty of this new policy was assistant press secretary Michael Short. Mr Scaramucci told Politico on Tuesday morning that he planned to fire Mr Short. Mr Short offered his resignation that afternoon.

“This is the problem with the leaking,” said Mr Scaramucci, who leaked the news of the firing himself. “...The fact that you guys know about [Mr Short’s firing] before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic.”

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has been pressuring his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to resign. The President told the Wall Street Journal that he was "disappointed" in Mr Sessions, and later tweeted that the Attorney General had taken a "VERY weak position" on Hillary Clinton's alleged crimes.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was reportedly disturbed by the Presidents' attacks on his Attorney General, announced recently that he is "taking a little time off," according to a spokesperson.

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