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How Trump Humiliated Reince Priebus—and the Republican Party

Like his party, the former White House chief of staff swallowed his principles in the name of power. He was repaid in savage indignity. Six years ago, a humble party hack from Kenosha, Wisconsin, took on the thankless job of turning around the Republican Party. As he exits the White House—battered, bruised, and humiliated—Reince Priebus argues he accomplished just what he set out to do. “We won,” Priebus told me in an interview. “Winning is what we were supposed to do, and we won. That’s the job of the Republican Party. It’s in the best shape it’s been in since 1928.” The former White House chief of staff and Republican National Committee chairman said he was proud of his stewardship of the GOP, which culminated in the election of a Republican president, Republican Congress, and Republican gains up and down the ballot. But the White House is mired in chaos, and all that Republican power has yet to result in a single major policy achievement. Priebus’s critics view him as the man who sold his party out to Donald Trump. Was it really worth it, I asked? “It’s absolutely worth it,” Priebus said, pointing to the nomination of a conservative Supreme Court justice, regulatory reform, and a healthy economy, though he acknowledged health care remained “an obstacle.” “The president has accomplished an incredible amount of things in the last six months,” he added. “The future can be great, and the past has been pretty good.” It has been a long, strange trip for Priebus, who came to Washington as GOP chairman in 2011 on a promise to reform a party in disarray. His story, in a way, is the story of the Republican Party itself: His initial wariness of Trump gave way to capitulation and then enabling. He swallowed his private qualms for the sake of the team, until his turn to be the victim of Trump’s pageant of dominance finally came—publicly disgraced, dismissed in a tweet. “I see him as kind of a tragic figure,” said Charlie Sykes, a former conservative radio host in Milwaukee who has known Priebus for many years. “What began as a matter of duty on his part—the decision to go all-in on Trump—ended with this scorchingly obscene humiliation.” Sykes’s pity for his friend was limited, however. “It’s sad, but it’s the result of choices he made,” said Sykes, a Never Trumper who is now an MSNBC commentator. “It’s not like he wasn’t warned.” Ironically, Priebus’s own career in national politics began with an act of disloyalty. In 2011, he was serving as the Republican National Committee’s general counsel under then-chairman Michael Steele. Despite big wins in the 2010 midterm elections, party activists had become dissatisfied with what they viewed as Steele’s mismanagement and penchant for gaffes. Steele knew he would have challengers when he sought another term as chairman—but he didn’t expect a challenge from Priebus, whom he considered a teammate. “This is the bed Reince has been making for himself since he was my general counsel,” Steele told me. “He’s a guy who’s always positioning himself for the next thing. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?” Priebus’s bid for RNC chairman was premised on the idea that he could do for the party nationally what he’d done as state party chairman in Wisconsin, where he had been on the vanguard of a resurgent conservative movement. As a lawyer and party activist, he’d watched his friend Scott Walker become governor and another friend, Paul Ryan, get anointed a rising Republican star. They called themselves the “Cheesehead Mafia.” In Washington, Ryan was the star policy wonk, one of the “young guns” remaking the party as a slick vehicle for extreme fiscal conservatism. In Madison, Walker pushed through a sudden, shocking assault on public-sector unions—then survived the left’s attempt to remove him in a hard-fought recall. “We are not in competition with the conservative movement, we are part of the conservative movement,” Priebus said at the time. —theatlantic.com

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Scaramucci out as Trump media chief – BBC News

White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci removed from post after 10 days, US media report This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. —bbc.co.uk

 

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