Trump Administration: Who is Next to Go?

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. The 45th president has made many controversial moves as an executive, and the list of individuals that he has crossed off his to-do list seems to be growing by the day. Whether you love the guy or hate him, there is no denying that Trump has accomplished a lot in his first year in office. Here is a list of prominent people that we believe could be next on Trump’s chopping block.

Steve Bannon

Bannon’s relationship with Trump was always a strange one. The former Breitbart News chief was one of Trump’s closest advisers during the presidential campaign, and he served as the president’s chief strategist for much of his first year in office. But after a falling out with Trump, Bannon was eventually pushed out of the White House in May. He has since returned to his role as executive chairman of Breitbart News, the far-right website he founded. If anything, Bannon has proved to be a loyal soldier and an effective voice for the president’s agenda. While many of Trump’s recent moves have been highly criticized by the media and civil society, Bannon has staunchly defended the president and his policies. He recently told the New York Times that Trump was “doing all of the things that he promised he was going to do,” and that “the press is the opposition party.”

Mike Pompeo

The former Kansas congressman was confirmed as Trump’s secretary of state in late March. One of the most hard-line Republicans in Congress, Pompeo has a long history of supporting military intervention in Syria and other foreign policy positions that put him at odds with the more liberal members of his party. Still, President Trump seems to have a lot of faith in the former army officer, appointing him as chief negotiator for the United States in its talks with North Korea and giving him a seat on the National Security Council. While there is no question that Pompeo will do a good job as America’s top diplomat, his ties to the president and the belief that he will follow Trump’s orders put him in a vulnerable position. There is also the distinct possibility that Trump will eventually grow tired of Pompeo’s unquestioning loyalty and decide to make a move.

Michael Flynn

Trump’s first national security adviser, Flynn was fired from his White House job in February for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. Flynn has also worked for Trump’s campaign and was an active surrogate during the 2016 election. His connections to Russia — both as a former national security adviser and as a lobbyist for a Turkish-Russian firm — have led many to question his loyalties and whether he will give the president bad advice. While Flynn has denied any wrongdoing, many believe that he should be severely questioned about his Russian ties. Despite his troubles, Flynn is still one of the most prominent conservatives in Trump’s cabinet and has been a vocal supporter of the president and his agenda. The question is: how much longer can Flynn continue to serve in such a prominent role?

Rex Tillerson

The former ExxonMobil CEO was confirmed as Trump’s secretary of state in late March and began serving his country in an unusually early position. While Tillerson has a long track record of negotiating with foreign governments and serving the petroleum industry, he has no government or diplomatic experience. With him at the helm, there is the distinct possibility that America’s already troubled relationship with Russia will deteriorate even further. The former oilman’s past business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s regime have also raised a number of red flags.

Scott Pruitt

The head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Pruitt was tapped to be Trump’s attorney general in January. A fierce climate change denier and an advocate of returning to “traditional” values, Pruitt has been at the center of controversy from the very beginning. He was previously Oklahoma’s attorney general and sued the agency he now leads 14 times as part of a campaign to dismantle it. Because of his past work against the EPA, many see Pruitt as an affront to the environment and a threat to public health. In the face of mounting opposition, the administration recently announced that it would no longer support Pruitt’s request for enhanced protection from the press — suggesting that the press is no longer safe from the president’s criticism.

Jared Kushner

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was one of the first people to be confirmed for a top administration post. He serves as one of the most prominent members of Trump’s “inner circle” and is deeply involved in the administration’s response to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. A devout Zionist, Kushner has long been a controversial figure within the Jewish community. In February, he had to apologize for lying about his contacts with Russian officials during the campaign. While Kushner has denied any wrongdoing, it has severely damaged his reputation and, reportedly, his mental health.

Rand Paul

The Kentucky senator is one of the more prominent voices in the Republican Party in support of limited government, low taxes, and civil liberties. He was one of the only senators to vote against authorizing military interventions in both Iraq and Syria. In light of Trump’s erratic behavior and the president’s record number of controversies, it is not surprising that Paul would defy his party to oppose some of Trump’s more outlandish actions. While many see Paul as a political ally, the president has another idea: he reportedly considers Rand Paul “a real pain” in the Senate and has threatened to “get him out of office” if that is what it takes to get his agenda passed. If anything, Rand Paul’s steadfast opposition to nearly all of Trump’s policies has only endeared him to his constituents further.

Honorable Mentions

The list of people we could have included on this list is almost endless. It is a who’s who of the far right, including controversial figures like Sebastian Gorka, Peter Thiel, and Charlie Kirk. There are also politicians like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who have been harsh critics of the president but remained in the cabinet. While there is no question that these people have done invaluable work for Trump and his administration, ultimately, the buck stops with the president.

One of the more interesting stories to follow during Trump’s first year in office is his relationship with the media. Trump has shown a distinct dislike for the press, and over the past year, his administration has taken numerous actions to crack down on freedom of the press, suggesting that the relationship is far from healthy. While Trump has repeatedly attacked the “fake news” media, the administration has also repeatedly tried to undermine journalists — even going so far as to suggest that the “enemy of the people” label be used against them. If anything, Trump’s war with the press is a microcosm of the conflict coming to a head in America today: while the president may hate the press, the media does not seem to be playing along, and a dangerous power struggle is brewing.