After a junior White House aide’s morbid comments about Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were leaked to the press two weeks ago, the White House has reportedly replaced its daily communications meetings with something smaller and is mulling shrinking the size of the communications teams, according to reports from The New York Times and CNN.
According to several former and current West Wing aides who spoke with the Times, Trump has become increasing vexed with his communications team in recent months and has complained that he has “the biggest team, and yet gets ‘the worst press.'”
That frustration came to a head when it was leaked that White House special assistant Kelly Sadler, who works on the communications team, mocked McCain for “dying.” The divulgence prompted officials to reduce the number of staff who attend daily communications meetings and further sowed suspicion and distrust within the White House, according to the Times.
The reduction in staff at communications meetings was one of several precautionary measures taken to combat President Donald Trump’s feeling of being undermined by his staff, according to a senior official who spoke with the Times. White House staff are not allowed to bring their personal cellphones into the West Wing and hall monitors have begun scanning the hallways and offices for prohibited phones.
In one recent incident, officials clamped down on staffers after it was revealed that an aide was recording his conversations with Trump to impress friends, several people familiar with the incident told the Times.
According to two officials with knowledge of the matter who spoke with CNN, the plans to reduce the size of the communications team should happen in coming weeks. Staffers won’t be fired outright, but rather pushed out slowly or reassigned to other departments, CNN reported. The move was prompted by the Sadler leak and the objective is to reduce the number of leaks coming from the communications team and restructure the press shop.