As we arrive at a full year with President Donald Trump in office, Americans are by now accustomed to the administration’s constant staff changes and general atmosphere of chaos. So in the spirit of Oscars season, it seems appropriate to honor the White House drama as the entertainment it has proven to be. In this vein, here we recognize some of the most entertaining departures of Trump’s first year in office.
Steve Bannon, Best Stunt (falling from grace)
With an illustrious history of advocating for Islamophobic and patriarchal views, it was initially odd to see Bannon in the White House. But once alt-right attitudes took hold in 2017, it was even more bizarre to see him go. Following his departure, Bannon went on to criticize the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia as being “treasonous” and “unpatriotic,” which Trump countered by saying that “Sloppy Steve” had “lost his mind.” While it is unclear what the political repercussions of Bannon’s departure will be, this banter between former allies is the drama that Bannon’s path of destruction deserved.
Sebastian Gorka, Best Supporting Actor in a Foreign Film
With ties to Hungarian nationalism (and perhaps also Nazism), Sebastian Gorka’s role in the Trump administration was questionable from the outset. After supposedly fighting with White House chief of staff John Kelly, Gorka was ousted with little explanation. With not much known about Gorka besides his intense Islamophobia and a comically bad dissertation for a supposed academic, we know little else about his departure from the White House. However, with so little known, there remains plenty of mystery surrounding Dr. Gorka, leaving intrigue for what’s left to come. If Gorka falls back into Trump’s good graces, expect a potential sequel.
Michael Flynn, Best Lead Actor in a Foreign Film
Barely a month into Trump’s presidency, Michael Flynn was the first staffer to be fired. After lying to Mike Pence, Sean Spicer, and Reince Priebus about his connections to Russia, Flynn not only earned himself a ticket out of the White House, but he also earned himself a role in practically any spy movie. Flynn set the pace for the ensuing chaos surrounding the Trump administration, and his ousting truly displays how drama can erupt from any unforeseen corner of the White House.
Omarosa Manigault, Best Extra
Oh, Omarosa. No one knew what her role truly was at the White House, except perhaps Omarosa herself—to use it as a wedding set, apparently. Best known for “starring” on The Apprentice three times, the author of The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It On and Off was technically “director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison,” a job of mysterious purpose that ended with her alleged forcible removal from the premises after much cursing and threatening. Her position of unknown intent and subsequent fiery departure perfectly sums up the reality-show nature of the administration and its rapid cast changes. Oh well, as Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts said about her departure: “Bye, Felicia.”
Reince Priebus, Best Director of a Comedy Film
With a name like Reince Priebus that sounds like he could be the next Pontius Pilate, more was expected from his departure. In a very mild manner, Priebus stepped aside, prompting the rise of the much more entertaining Anthony Scaramucci. Lacking any charisma, a rare attribute for any figure in the notoriously bombastic Trump administration, Priebus merely served as a vaguely entertaining extra when he departed from Trump’s White House.
Sean Spicer, Best Original Screenplay
While Sean Spicer said that “we can disagree with the facts,” there’s one thing we can all agree on: Though terrifying in his blatant aversion to basic truths, his tenure as press secretary was pure entertainment. It began with him angrily attesting that the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration—period—both in person and around the globe” despite photographic evidence to the contrary. He also notably said about Syrian president Bashar al-Assad that even “someone as despicable as Hitler...didn't even sink to using chemical weapons.” But by far the best was Melissa McCarthy’s violent, podium-throwing parody of “Spicey” on Saturday Night Live. And yet, despite all his avoidance of the truth and generally terrible job at being a press liaison, only the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director could get this master of spin to vanquish his post. No shame, all game.
Anthony Scaramucci, Best Cameo
“The Mooch’s” remarkable tenure as White House communications director began with him blowing a kiss to the press after his first briefing. From there, he promised a witch-hunt to root out “leakers,” missed the birth of his son to attend the national Boy Scouts jamboree, and compared his relationship with Reince Priebus to that between Cain and Abel. And this was before his late-night, profanity-laced call to Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, resulting in an interview that at first glance appeared to be a satire, including these memorable phrases:
- “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”
- “I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.”
- “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”
With quotes like these, it’s no wonder why “The Mooch” will be remembered long past his 10-day tenure. Over such a short span in office, he accomplished all of the above in addition to successfully getting Sean Spicer to quit and Reince Priebus axed before his own unfortunate demise at the hands of the freshly-appointed John Kelly. So long, Scaramucci. Gone, but never forgotten.
Last but not least, the award for “Most Gullible Person” goes to us—because we’re the ones getting distracted by these antics when serious issues like the national opioid epidemic and the worst refugee crisis in history are taking our world by storm. Just look at our school’s meme page, where posts on any given day tend to involve our orange-hued president spouting more ridiculous words unfit for his office. These firings might be entertaining for now, but the long-term consequences of this administration’s chronic instability will be profound.
Fred Kardos is a second-year in the College and a Viewpoints columnist. Katia Kukucka is a first-year in the College.