Michael Short, a senior assistant Press Secretary for Donald Trump, has resigned shortly after new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci revealed he wanted to fire him and vowed to crack down on leaks, Politico is reporting.
“Short’s ouster is Scaramucci’s first warning shot to White House aides who have been perceived as disloyal to the president,” Politico reported.
Short adamantly denied being a leaker to Politico.
The Short resignation – along with Scaramucci’s own hiring – can be seen as the start of a shift in power inside the Trump administration, away from Republican Party loyalists and those in the orbit of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Sean Spicer, a former RNC spokesman, resigned from the communications office where Short also worked when Trump hired Scaramucci, a self-made New York financier.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Reports Said Michael Short Was Going to Be Fired, but Then He Resigned
The original plan was for Scaramucci to dismiss Short on July 25, reported Politico.
Early that day, Scaramucci told Politico that he planned to start shaking up the communications office “by dismissing assistant press secretary Michael Short at a morning meeting” but the political site reported “that move was apparently delayed.”
Short resigned later in the day before that happened.
2. Short Was Close to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus & Has Worked Entirely in the Trenches of Republican Politics
Short held numerous positions with the RNC before taking the job as senior assistant press secretary for Trump. As such, he was perceived as close to Priebus. On Twitter, he says he’s a Texan.
His LinkedIn profile shows a career entirely built around Republican politics.
Short was previously director of Rapid Response and National Spokesman for the RNC from 2015 through January 2017 in Washington D.C. Before that, he served as regional press secretary for the organization, also in the Washington D.C. area, from 2013 through 2015.
He was the Virginia Communications Director for the RNC for seven months in 2012.
Before that, he served as a Press Secretary for the U.S. House of Representatives for 9 months, starting in 2011, and was an assistant press secretary for the RNC from 2009 through 2011 in Washington D.C.
He conducted research for the National Republican Senatorial Committee for four months in 2009, and he spent seven months doing research for Texans for Senator John Cornyn in 2008 in Austin, Texas.
He has degrees in government and history from Texas Tech University, where he graduated in 2008. While there, he was on the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, men’s lacrosse team, and College Republicans. He went to Westside High School.
His LinkedIn page says he is “a seasoned political communications professional with presidential campaign and Capitol Hill experience. Short is a four-cycle veteran of the Republican National Committee as well as an alumnus of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Washington office of U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) and the successful 2008 reelection campaign Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).”
3. Anthony Scaramucci Has Threatened to ‘Fire Everybody’ if Leaks Don’t Stop but Short Denies Being a Leaker
Scaramucci “is exercising a broad mandate from the president and intends to follow through on threats to purge aides he believes are disloyal to Trump and leaking to the press,” reported The Washington Post of the billionaire’s first moves.
Scaramucci has made cracking down on the leaks that have so vexed the president a priority, telling Fox News Sunday, “We’ve got to get the leaks stopped. If we don’t get the leaks stopped — I am a businessperson, and so I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks.” He vowed to fire almost everyone in the Communications Office except Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Social Media Director Dan Scavino, and strategic communications director Hope Hicks, if it became necessary to stop the leaking.
Short has insisted, though, that he has not leaked anything. He told Politico: “Allegations I ever leaked anything are demonstrably false.”
4. Short Once Quit the Trump Campaign, Leaving His Open Computer Behind
Short was reported to have quit the Trump campaign.
Breitbart, the conservative organization once run by Trump adviser Steve Bannon, reports that “Short originally worked for the Trump campaign—placed on it by Priebus—and quit the campaign, sources tell Breitbart News, after the Access Hollywood tape came out.”
Politico confirmed that Short quit the campaign and said he was “scorned by many of his colleagues” as a result. Staffers said “they arrived at Trump Tower one morning, months before the election, to see Short’s computer left open on his otherwise empty desk,” Politico reported, adding that Short later joined the White House Communications Office because of Priebus and claimed he never stopped working for the ticket but had merely returned to do RNC work.
5. Short’s Resignation Has Sparked Talk About the Future of Priebus
Could Short’s and Spicer’s resignations be a bad omen for the future of Priebus, the former RNC chairman turned chief of staff who once ran the Republican Party in Wisconsin?
There certainly seems to be a diminishing in the ranks of his supporters inside the Trump bubble (and he was reported to have opposed the hiring of Scaramucci by The New York Times and other publications). However, Priebus and Scaramucci have publicly spoken positively about each other since Scaramucci was hired. Trump seems to be relying more than before on a tight circle of family members and political outsiders like Scaramucci.
“The potential shake-up has exacerbated long-simmering tensions between Scaramucci and chief of staff Reince Priebus,” reported The Washington Post. Scaramucci reports to Trump, not Priebus.