We're just over a year into the Trump Administration, and what a ride it has been. I mean for the White House staff. For us, it's mostly been shock, tears, and an odd numbness that set in sometime last summer and has left us immune to the day-to-day horror of President Guy From The Apprentice.
So we’re going to try to make you feel a little better. It’s almost March, and with March comes an annoying Internet tradition that has aged like a fine milk: making literally everything imaginable into a bracket.
We would be doing you a disservice if we did not make former Trump Administration employees into some twisted bracket you can vote on throughout the greatest month in sports.
It was not easy.
Not because there weren’t enough people to lose their jobs in the past year — far from it, actually. But because the reluctant participants in our field vary so greatly. They’re not all Michael Flynn, after all. There’s Sally Yates and Preet Bharara, two holdovers from the Obama years whose only crimes were actually trying to do their jobs.
And others left with dignity, too. Like Omarosa, who reportedly had to be dragged out of the White House upon her firing. Or Reince Priebus, who was fired and abandoned on an airport tarmac.
We have 32 former employees here, all either fired, resigned under pressure, or just flat-out resigned. They’ve been placed into four regions and seeded 1-8 based on how unceremoniously they were dismissed. Each day this month, we’ll give you a matchup to vote on. There are 31 days in March and it will take us 31 matchups to get the Ultimate Trump Departure. What a happy coincidence.
All we ask of you is that each day you vote on who you think had the more memorable, or more embarrassing, or worse departure from this four-year-long gift that keeps on giving. You can register your vote on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Without further ado, there is the field:
2. Steve Bannon: Despite having no qualifications whatsoever, area blogger Steve Bannon was instrumental in shaping White House policy around his
nationalist racist agenda. He was forced out after a turbulent tenure in which he clashed with former and soon-to-be-former members of the administration alike.
3. Preet Bharara: The former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York was part of Trump’s US Attorney purge of Obama-era holdovers. Jeff Sessions ordered 46 attorneys, including Bharara, to resign, but Bharara refused. He was fired the next day, drawing criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
1. Sally Yates: Yates was acting attorney general and was dismissed after announcing she would not defend President Trump’s travel ban. Oh, and she warned the administration that Michael Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail by Russia. In a field of monsters and psychos, Yates feels out of place. But you can’t leave her out.
4. Michael Short: The assistant press secretary technically resigned, but only after Anthony Scaramucci told the media that he would be fired.
FINAL: Yates 64%, Higbie 46%
7. Boris Epshteyn: Epshteyn resigned in March 2017, but not before he wrote that infamous Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that left out…uh, Jewish people.
3. Carl Higbie: Much like Johnson, Higbie got into trouble when some past racist comments came back to haunt him. He also added some anti-Muslim comments, sexist comments, and needlessly bashed soldiers with PTSD.
FINAL: Epshteyn 72%, Higbie 28%
1. James Comey: The former FBI director played a huge role in getting Trump elected, then was repaid by getting fired when he refused to cave to Trump’s pressure in the early days of the Russia investigation.
4. Hope Hicks: The newest addition to the bracket, Hicks’s resignation was first reported just yesterday after she testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee. The Hope Hicks Greatest Hits collection includes her role in the White House’s defense of Rob Porter and the misleading statement about the famous Don Jr. meeting in which he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
FINAL: Comey 53%, Hicks 47%
2. Sean Spicer: Spicey! If you’re looking for a non-1 seed to go to the Final Four, he’s a good bet, if only because his job was to clean up after the president every day (when he wasn’t hiding in the bushes). His actual resignation came over his discomfort with the Scaramucci Era, but really his downfall began on Day 1 when he wore that ill-fitting suit and talked about the size of the inauguration crowd.
6. Brenda Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald is another conflict of interest player. She led the CDC before resigning after just seven months when POLITICO reported that she had bought shares in a tobacco company while DIRECTOR OF THE CDC.
FINAL: Spicer 62%, Fitzgerald 38%
1. Anthony Scaramucci: The Mooch! How can we forget those magical 10 days? The White House Communications Director, who is supposed to have a grip on, you know, communicating, unleashed an expletive-laden on-the-record tirade at reporter Ryan Lizza, who then published it, making for one of the most memorable afternoons of our lives. The Mooch was fired shortly thereafter and I’m still trying to get a job at the Scaramucci Post. Hmu if you have a connection.
5. William Bradford: The leader of the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy resigned when people remembered he tweeted this:
He also called Mark Zuckerberg a self-hating Jew.
FINAL: Scaramucci 70%, Bradford 30%
1. Michael Flynn: Where do we start with Flynn? His whole mess started when he lied about his relationship with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak to Vice President Pence. Flynn resigned as National Security Advisor amid investigation. The next day, Trump reportedly asked Comey to let go of the Flynn investigation, which is totally normal and OK. Also on Flynn’s resume: reportedly accepting money from foreign governments and plotting to kidnap Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen. Remember when he led the “Lock her up!” chant at the RNC?
5. Andrew McCabe: The Deputy FBI Director has been the subject of Trump’s ire throughout the post-Comey Era. Trump reportedly asked McCabe who he had voted for and Jeff Sessions had reportedly pressured FBI Director Chris Wray to fire him. McCabe announced his resignation in late January.
2. Reince Priebus: The former Chief of Staff was on the hot-seat seemingly from the moment Trump took office. Maybe it’s because he was clearly not a fan of Trump during the fight for the Republican nomination. Or because he encouraged Trump to drop out of the race after the Access Hollywood tape dropped. Or maybe just because for a former chair of the RNC, he is a somewhat normal human being. Having a shred of sanity does not bode well for your Trump Administration longevity, and Priebus was ousted on an airport tarmac after just 188 days on the job.
6. K.T. McFarland: Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland was another victim of the McMaster re-shuffle. She’s best known (imo) for directing Trump to an online climate change hoax. Trump reportedly had a hard time understanding why she is no longer the Deputy National Security Advisor.