The latest “Infrastructure Week” at the White House isn’t going well.
The White House’s top infrastructure advisor is leaving the administration as President Donald Trump’s plans to inject funding to repair the nation’s roads and bridges will most likely have to wait until after the midterm elections.
The White House said DJ Gribbin, who formulated the Trump plan released in February, is leaving to pursue other opportunities.
It’s hard to blame Gribbin for exiting. He worked for months to craft the president’s infrastructure plan, which landed with a loud thud. It was designed to pass the Republican-led Congress, but the woeful blueprint faced swift resistance from lawmakers, and Trump admitted last week that the White House plan is effectively dead, at least for the rest of this year. (In a speech in Ohio, the president said, “Now is the time to rebuild our country.” He soon after made clear that he didn’t mean now.)
And at that point, there really wasn’t much more for Gribbin to do.Of course, there’s a larger context to this. CBS’s Stephen Colbert recently joked, “The busiest person at the White House is whoever has to update the office contact list.”
Indeed, Gribbin’s departure makes this a fine time to update the list of prominent Trump World departures:
Cabinet: HHS Secretary Tom Price, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, VA Secretary David Shulkin
West Wing: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh, Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Director of Public Liaison George Sifakis, Office of Public Liaison Communications Director Omarosa Manigault, Staff Secretary Rob Porter, Deputy Assistant to the President Sean Cairncross, Chief Usher Angella Reid, Assistant to the President Reed Cordish, Personal Assistant to the President John McEntee Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll (who’s leaving his post to become the “drug czar”)
White House Communications: Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short, Communications Director #1 Mike Dubke, Communications Director #2 Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director #3 Hope Hicks, Rapid Response Director Andy Hemming, Speechwriter David Sorensen, Senior Communications Official Josh Raffel, Deputy Director of Media Affairs Tyler Ross
National Security team: National Security Advisor #1 Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor #2 H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, Advisor to the National Security Council Monica Crowley, Director for intelligence programs at the National Security Council Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Deputy Chief of Staff at the National Security Council Tera Dahl, Director Of Strategic Planning at the National Security Council Rich Higgins, NSC Middle East Advisor Derek Harvey, U.S. diplomat overseeing North Korea policy Joseph Yun, Senior Advisor to the Defense Secretary Sally Donnelly, Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke
Diplomatic team: Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, Chief of State to the Secretary of State Margaret Peterlin, Deputy Chief of State to the Secretary of State Christine Ciccone, State Department Counselor Maliz Beams, State Department Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, Ambassador to Panama John Feeley, Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson
The self-identified “nationalist” wing: Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon, National Security Aide Sebastian Gorka
Justice Department: Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord, FBI Assistant Director Mike Kortan, Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section chief David Laufman, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, dozens of U.S. Attorneys
Office of the Vice President: Chief of Staff Josh Pitcock, Press Secretary Marc Lotter, Chief Counsel Mark Paoletta, Domestic Policy Director Daris Meeks
A cavalcade of others that includes CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, National Economic Council Deputy Director Jeremy Katz, Domestic Policy Council Deputy Director Paul Winfree; Director of Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub, Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Director William Bradford, Department of Homeland Security Faith-Based Director Jamie Johnson, Corporation for National and Community Service Chief of External Affairs Carl Higbie, Office of Drug Control Policy Deputy Chief of Staff Taylor Weyeneth, Trump legal team spokesperson Mark Corallo, EPA Office of Science and Technology Director Elizabeth Southerland, National Economic Council adviser George David Banks, Federal Railroad Administration’s acting chief Heath Hall, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke, Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure DJ Gribbin, and Carl Icahn, who served as a special adviser to the president on regulatory reform.
As we discussed a while back, this does not include a variety of people the president nominated for prominent administrative posts – including some cabinet positions – who ultimately withdrew in the face of assorted controversies, nor does it include the many changes to Trump’s outside legal team.