It's never been altogether clear what, exactly, Sebastian Gorka did in Donald Trump's White House. The far-right adviser made plenty of media appearances, but in terms of his day-to-day responsibilities, there was always some degree of mystery as to what role Gorka served.
Whatever the answer to that question, he won't be in that role anymore.
Sebastian Gorka, a national security aide to President Donald Trump and one of the most vocal hard-right advocates for a firm stand against Islam and for a pro-America foreign policy position, is no longer a part of the administration, a White House official said Friday. [...]The departure was first reported by The Federalist. The White House official told NBC News that Gorka resigned in part because with John Kelly in place as chief of staff, there was "no way" he'd have a policy role in the National Security Council.
Not only do we not know what Gorka did, we also don't know who was responsible for his departure. Some White House officials told reporters he was forced out, while Gorka, who's had one foot out the door for a while, insists his resignation was his idea.
Either way, the revolving door between the Trump White House and a far-right website called Breitbart News continues to swing: Gorka, like Stephen Bannon, worked for Breitbart before joining Team Trump, and he, like Bannon, has returned to the website now that he's no longer at the White House.
Taking a step back, the employment volatility surrounding the president is so considerable, we can now break down the major departures into categories:
* West Wing: Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh, Director of Public Liaison George Sifakis
* White House Communications: Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short, Communications Director #1 Mike Dubke, Communications Director #2 Anthony Scaramucci, Rapid Response Director Andy Hemming
* National Security team: National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, 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
* 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, dozens of U.S. Attorneys
* A cavalcade of others that includes Josh Pitcock, chief of staff to the vice president, Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics, and Carl Icahn, who served as a special adviser to the president on regulatory reform
As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, this does not include the various shake-ups we've seen on Trump's outside legal team. It also doesn't 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.
This is in no way normal. One might expect to see this number of firings and resignations at the end of a president's first term, not before Labor Day in a president's first year.
To be sure, some of these officials quit, and others were shown the door. Either way, can the last one out turn off the lights?