In Summary
  • Dozens of White House aides -- from attorney general Jeff Sessions to press secretary Sean Spicer and chief of staff Reince Priebus -- have either left or been sacked from their positions since Trump took office on January 20, 2017.

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is leaving his post after a tenure in which he was regularly at odds with President Donald Trump.

Dozens of White House aides -- from attorney general Jeff Sessions to press secretary Sean Spicer and chief of staff Reince Priebus -- have either left or been sacked from their positions since Trump took office on January 20, 2017.

Here is a sampling of senior departures:

  • DAN COATS

Dan Coats

The US director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, has become the latest high-profile figure to leave the Trump administration. He leaves office on August 15, 2019. PHOTO | AFP

Dan Coats, who previously served in the US Senate and the House of Representatives, was viewed as apolitical and enjoyed bipartisan support, but did not see eye to eye with Trump on a range of issues and at times appears to have been kept in the dark by his administration.

He backed the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election that brought Trump to office -- something the president was long loath to acknowledge -- and also disagreed with his decision to hold a two-hour closed-door meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018.

Coats also said he does not believe that North Korea is willing to give up its nuclear arsenal, as the president does, and has warned that the Islamic State group -- despite Trump's assertions to the contrary -- was hardly vanquished and could easily rise again.

  • KIRSTJEN NIELSEN

Kirstjen Nielsen

US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who is leaving her post after serving as enforcer of President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies. PHOTO | ALEX EDELMAN | AFP

Kirstjen Nielsen previously served as a cyber security specialist in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), then as assistant to Trump's first DHS secretary, John Kelly.

When Kelly moved to the White House as Trump's chief of staff in July 2017, Nielsen went with him as his deputy -- but by October was back at DHS, this time as secretary.

She would become the front-line defender of the administration's immigration policies and the face of its widely condemned practice of separating migrant children from their parents.

Despite remaining steadfast in her loyalty, her ability was long said to have been questioned by Trump and her eventual departure -- coming months after her mentor Kelly's resignation -- was not a shock.

  • RYAN ZINKE

Ryan Zinke

US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. PHOTO | GEORGE FREY | GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA | AFP

Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL and ex-member of the House of Representatives, was one of the main executors of Trump's efforts to reduce environmental protections in the United States. He left at the end of 2018.

He managed to hold onto his post for some two years despite a series of scandals over expenditures, including reports that his department was spending nearly $139,000 to upgrade three sets of double doors in his office -- a cost he later said he negotiated down to $75,000.

  • JOHN KELLY

John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, has been credited with helping restore a degree of order to the often-chaotic Trump White House before his exit at the end of 2018.

But in the process he clashed with members of the Trump clan, and at times infuriated Democrats with his blunt comments.

Kelly made it known he did not always love the job -- one of the most vital in any White House -- quipping, "God punished me, I guess."

  • JEFF SESSIONS

US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.

Former US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions. PHOTO | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP

Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, was the first member of the Senate to back Trump's insurgent bid in 2015 for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump rewarded Sessions by naming him to head the Department of Justice.

But relations quickly soured after Sessions recused himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia to get him elected.

Trump personally attacked Sessions on several occasions for failing to protect him from the Mueller probe.

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