World

Trump admin’s controversial departures

By AAP Newswire

Some of the high profile resignations and firings from US President Donald Trump's cabinet are a reflection of Trump's popular network show The Apprentice that turned him into a household name with his aggressive catchphrase "You're fired!"

The following are the six officials who left the administration amid the most controversy:

JOHN BOLTON, THE HAWK WHO WAS EVEN MORE BELLIGERENT THAN TRUMP

Trump only needed two tweets to dispatch his national security adviser, John Bolton, a foreign policy "hawk" with a penchant for interventionism.

"I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House," Trump wrote on the social media platform on Tuesday.

During his 17 months at the White House, Bolton increased tensions with Iran and ramped up the diplomatic pressure on the three countries he dubbed the "Troika of Tyranny," Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The relationship between Trump and Bolton had been becoming more and more strained due to the president's frustration with the lack of progress in the strategy against Venezuela.

However, the straw that broke the camel's back was Bolton's opposition to Trump's negotiation with the Taliban, the main player in Afghanistan's militant insurgency.

ALEX ACOSTA, AN OUSTER FUELED BY THE EPSTEIN SCANDAL

Alex Acosta, Trump's labour secretary for more than two years and the only Hispanic cabinet member, was forced to resign over his role in the scandal involving business mogul Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of child sex trafficking and took his own life on August 10 while in jail.

JAMES MATTIS, THE HONOURABLE GENERAL

General James Mattis, who served as Trump's defence secretary between January 2017 and January 2019, tendered his resignation in December 2018 after failing to persuade Trump to keep US troops deployed in Syria.

The letter in which Mattis announced he was quitting gave an impassioned defence of the US' system of alliances throughout the world and argued that Washington should treat its allies with respect as well as be "resolute and unequivocal" with its geopolitical rivals, such as China and Russia.

Mattis' letter instantly provoked Trump's ire and the president forced the general to leave two months ahead of schedule.

JEFF SESSIONS, FROM LOVE TO HATE

As in Mattis' case, Trump also went from love to hate in his attitude toward Jeff Sessions, a key surrogate in his presidential campaign who served as attorney general between January 2017-November 2018.

The former Alabama senator stoked Trump's ire when he decided to recuse himself from the justice department's investigation into the multiple ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump even said that, had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation, he would never have picked him to lead the Department of Justice and mocked and ridiculed him on Twitter on countless occasions.

JAMES COMEY, WHO FOUND OUT HE WAS FIRED VIA TV

James Comey, the ousted former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, found out Trump had fired him while he was at an event with FBI agents in Los Angeles, California, when a CNN ticker telling viewers he was leaving the administration.

Comey later received confirmation the White House had actually told the media of his firing before informing him.

He later sought revenge and told lawmakers in Congress and several media outlets about some of the skeletons in Trump's closet, including that the president had pressured him to shut down the investigation into his then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, one of the key subjects in the Russian electoral meddling case.

JOHN KELLY, THE GENERAL WHO GOT TIRED OF TRYING TO IMPOSE ORDER

General John Kelly arrived at the White House in July 2017 as chief of staff with the difficult mission of imposing order in a West Wing consumed by power struggles between staffers. He managed to instil some discipline among Trump's inner circle, but he failed miserably to do so with the president himself, who preferred to continue with his chaotic style and unorthodox Twitter announcements.

Their relationship reached a peak of tension when Kelly criticised Trump in front of a group of lawmakers, with the result being a curt statement by Trump to the press: "John Kelly will be leaving toward the end of the year."