The former White House chief of staff insisted in a Friday night interview that his ouster by President Donald Trump “is actually a good thing.”
“I’m feeling good about the fact that he’s making a change that makes him comfortable with moving forward,” Reince Priebus told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in what has become a routine interview stop for those who depart the Trump administration.
In a prolonged sit-down with the Fox host and diehard Trump ally, Priebus lavished praise on the President and promised he will “be on Team Trump all the time.”
It was an inglorious swan song for the former Republican National Committee chairman and senior Trump official, whose control over the White House staff was tenuous from the start.
On Friday, after months of swirling rumors, Trump announced on Twitter that former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John Kelly would replace Priebus as chief of staff. That announcement was tweeted out from Air Force One as Priebus was still waiting on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews after accompanying the President to Long Island, New York for an aggressive anti-gang speech. Priebus departed from the scene alone.
On both CNN and to Hannity, Priebus insisted that he was not fired and instead resigned on Thursday evening after days of discussion with Trump.
“I think the president wanted to go in a different direction. I support him on that. The president has a right to hit a reset button,” Priebus said, calling Trump a “friend” and “a good man.”
“(Trump) has the best political instincts,” Priebus told CNN. “He knows, I think, intuitively, when things need to change. He intuitively determined that it was time to do something differently and I think it was right.”
His departure comes with the rise of new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, who has publicly smeared Priebus to the media on multiple occasions and blamed him for the flood of leaks emanating from the White House.
In an instant classic of an interview with the New Yorker, Scaramucci called Priebus a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic” who was upset about not having been invited to a dinner with the President, ousted Fox News executive Bill Shine , and Hannity himself earlier in the week.
Priebus refused to get “in the mud” by discussing Scaramucci, calling “the palace intrigue stuff” an “annoying” “distraction” from the President’s agenda.
He also parroted the administration line on topics from the investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign (“ridiculous”) to the dishonesty of what they called the “fake” news media.
Watch the full interview below.