Still shaken by the leak of a morbid joke made at Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) expense during an internal White House meeting earlier this month, President Donald Trump has reportedly demanded a major shakeup of his communications team, Politico reported Tuesday.
And the President has asked the aide who made the joke about McCain “dying” to help him identify leakers, according to three people familiar with the situation who spoke to Politico.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has reportedly signed off on plans to reduce the number of midlevel and junior aides on the communications team, a move that will not impact high level officials like press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The communications teams housecleaning is one of many measures the White House plans to take to crack down on leaks. The New York Times reported last week that the White House was shrinking the size of its daily communications meetings in order to stifle what gets shared with the press.
Trump’s demands for change are reportedly in response to the leak of the McCain joke that special assistant Kelly Sadler made earlier this month.
During a meeting with Sadler and other staffers, Trump asked Sadler to help him identify leakers in the communications shop. In that same meeting, Trump also “expressed deep frustration,” in Politico’s words, with the excessive leaks that have plagued his presidency since Day One. He said the stories that are often privately shared with the media are inaccurate and damaging, according to Politico.