Energy Secretary Rick Perry is resigning — here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far

Jeremy Berke
rick perry

Associated Press/Andy Wong


  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry plans to leave the Trump administration by the end of this year, he recently announced. 
  • Perry's departure comes after President Donald Trump implicated him in allegations that Trump improperly pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden's work on the board of a Ukrainian oil and gas company. 
  • After Axios reported that Trump placed the blame on Perry for pushing him to make the call, the three House committees pursuing the impeachment inquiry subpoenaed Perry for documents.
  • Here are all the top-level people who've either been fired or resigned from the Trump administration and why they left.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, one of the original officials who has been in President Donald Trump's cabinet since the very beginning of the administration, resigned from his position and will be leaving later this year.

Perry's departure comes after Trump implicated him in the ongoing scandal involving Trump's communications with Ukraine.

Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry over allegations that in a July 25 phone call, he improperly pressured Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden's work on the board of Burisma Holdings, and Ukrainian oil and gas company. 

Read more: Trump is reportedly blaming Rick Perry for his infamous call with the Ukrainian president

After Axios reported that Trump placed the blame on Perry for pushing him to make the call, the three House committees pursuing the impeachment inquiry subpoenaed Perry for documents.

Before serving in the Trump administration, Perry was the governor of Texas and a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. 

The Trump administration has been rocked by high-profile departures — including James Mattis as defense secretary and John Kelly as chief of staff — since Trump took office in January 2017.

Here are all the top-level people who've either been fired or resigned from the administration and why they left.

Trump cabinet resignations_10.18.19

Rick Perry

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

The president has implicated Perry in the Ukraine saga by reportedly claiming that Perry had encouraged him to call Zelensky regarding Hunter Biden's business dealings. 

"Not a lot of people know this but, I didn't even want to make the call," Trump said on a call with House Republicans, a source familiar with the comments told Axios. "The only reason I made the call was because Rick asked me to. Something about an LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant."

Following Axios' report, Perry acknowledged that he "absolutely" encouraged the president to call Zelensky "multiple times," but not about the Bidens. Shortly after he was subpoenaed by House Democrats 

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1185209167495090176?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Secretary Rick Perry: "It is with profound emotion and gratitude that I'm announcing my resignation, effective later this year, as your Energy Secretary." https://t.co/tMBkdRuydG pic.twitter.com/igFg2zkkc9

 



John Bolton

Andrew Harnik/AP

Bolton seems to have learned of his firing over Twitter.

While Trump claimed that Bolton had already resigned at Trump's request, Bolton tweeted, "I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, 'Let's talk about it tomorrow.'"

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Bolton was "the leading voice" opposing Trump's now-defunct idea to bring the Taliban to Camp David the week of 9/11 in an effort to end the war in Afghanistan. 



Jason Greenblatt

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Greenblatt, who came into the job with virtually no foreign policy experience, played a critical role in drafting the administration's yet-to-be-released Israel-Palestine peace plan.

Trump wrote that Greenblatt's "dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won't be forgotten. He will be missed. Thank you Jason!"

According to Axios, Greenblatt will be replaced by Avi Berkowitz, a 29-year-old law school graduate and aide to White House advisor Jared Kushner, who has been involved in drafting the peace plan but also holds no formal diplomatic experience. 



Alex Acosta

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta resigned amid controversy over his role orchestrating a secret plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein in a sex crimes case just over a decade ago.

Initially, Acosta defended his role in the case, which spurred calls for his resignation. He said at a lengthy press conference on July 10: "We believe we acted appropriately the time."

But Acosta changed his mind and called Trump to resign on Friday. The resignation becomes effective July 19.

"I thought the right thing was to step aside," Acosta told to reporters at the White House.



Patrick Shanahan

Ted S. Warren, File/AP Images

Shanahan, a former Boeing executive who served as Trump's acting defense secretary since Gen. Jim Mattis' departure in December 2018, withdrew from the confirmation process to become the permanent secretary in June of 2019 after previous domestic violence-related family history came up in his confirmation process. 



Sarah Sanders

Alex Wong/Getty Images

"After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas," Trump wrote in a Thursday tweet.

Trump added: "She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas." 

Sanders' father, Mike Huckabee, served as Arkansas' governor for 11 years from 1996 to 2007, and was a 2016 presidential candidate.



Rod Rosenstein

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Rosenstein formally announced his departure from the Department of Justice in an April 29 letter to President Donald Trump.

For nearly two years, Rosenstein oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice — sometimes putting himself at odds with Trump himself. 

"I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity," Rosenstein's letter said. 



Kirstjen Nielsen

Associated Press/Susan Walsh

"Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service," Trump wrote in an April 7 tweet, not clarifying whether she voluntarily resigned or had been forced out

In a subsequent tweet, Trump added that US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would take over as acting DHS Secretary until a permanent replacement is nominated. 

Nielsen, who served in the position since December 2017, oversaw many of the Trump administration's most significant efforts to reduce both illegal and legal immigration into the United States. 

She enforced and defended the administration's controversial zero-tolerance policy, which jailed all adults charged with illegal entry, placed their children into government-run shelters, and resulted in approximately 2,500 children being separated from their parents.

But Trump reportedly blamed Nielsen for, in his view, failing to successfully counteract the significant increases in migrants crossing the border which began in the spring and summer of 2018. 



Bill Shine

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House announced on March 8 that Shine, who served as Trump's deputy chief of staff for communications eight months, would be leaving the administration to work on Trump's 2020 re-election campaign. 

Before joining the White House, Shine spent most his career at Fox News. He started off as a producer on Sean Hannity's show, but rose up to be an executive directing programming and briefly served as the network's co-president. 

While Shine mainly stayed out of the media spotlight during his time at the White House, he came under scrutiny for receiving an $8.4 million severance payment and at least half of a $7 million bonus Fox owed him while also working for the administration. 



Scott Gottlieb

Reuters

The FDA commissioner and physician will leave his post sometime in the month of March to spend more time with his family. 

Gottlieb was perhaps best-known for his ambitious plans to curb the use and sale of electronic cigarettes from brands like Juul and its partial owner Altria amid a spike in teen vaping. 

"The FDA continues to conduct our own inquiries and/or investigations of e-cig makers related to marketing activities and other product-related issues," he tweeted in December.

"I'll be reaching out to CEOs to schedule new meetings. Manufacturers and management are accountable for the youth epidemic."

During his tenure, the FDA also approved many new medications, including low-cost, generic versions of several prescription drugs.



James Mattis

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"General Jim Mattis will be retiring, with distinction, at the end of February, after having served my Administration as Secretary of Defense for the past two years," Trump announced in a December 20 tweet.

"General Mattis was a great help to me in getting allies and other countries to pay their share of military obligations," Trump added. "A new Secretary of Defense will be named shortly. I greatly thank Jim for his service!"

Mattis' planned departure comes after the Trump administration's sudden, controversial decision to declare victory over ISIS and plan to completely pull all 2,000 currently serving  troops out of Syria. 

Mattis' resignation letter was a respectfully-worded but clear rebuke of Trump's foreign policy orthodoxy, marked by his spurning of long-time strategic European allies and embrace of adversaries like Russia. 

"My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues," he wrote. 

"Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position," Mattis' letter added.

 



Ryan Zinke

Win McNamee/Getty Images

After initial reports emerged on Dec. 15 that interior secretary Ryan Zinke would leave the White House, President Donald Trump tweeted out the news, writing, "Secretary of the Interior @RyanZinke will be leaving the Administration at the end of the year after having served for a period of almost two years. Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation."

Zinke was under numerous ethics investigations at the time of his departure. By the time it was announced that he was leaving, he had been the subject of 15 investigations.

During his tenure as interior secretary, Zinke became notorious for questionable expenditures. One report alleged that he spent thousands on a helicopter ride bringing him to a location where he would ride horses with Vice President Mike Pence.



John Kelly

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump announced to reporters on Dec. 8 that his chief of staff John Kelly will leave "at the end of the year" and he plans to name his replacement in the next day or two.

Tensions brewed between Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, and Trump for months, with CNN reporting the day before Trump's announcement that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they stopped speaking altogether. 

Kelly's replacement is rumored to be Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's current chief of staff and a longtime Republican operative. 

 



Jeff Sessions

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions submitted his resignation on November 7 after nearly two years in the position, with Trump announcing that Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' Chief of Staff, would serve as acting attorney general until he nominates a permanent replacement.

Trump frequently criticized Sessions in harsh terms over Sessions' recusal from overseeing the special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

"You know, the only reason I gave him the job is because I felt loyalty," Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in an August interview. "He was an original supporter." Trump lamented that he "put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department."



Don McGahn

Mary Altaffer/AP

White House counsel Don McGahn left the Trump administration on Wednesday after a tumultuous 21-month tenure, a source close to the administration told Business Insider on October 17.

McGahn was said to be on his way out of the White House, which was likely to happen after the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.



Nikki Haley

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and former governor of South Carolina, announced her resignation on Oct. 9th.

After Axios first reported the news, President Donald Trump announced to reporters in the Oval Office that Haley would resign at the end of 2018.

While the reason for her resignation was unclear, Trump said she previously told him she wanted to "take a break" after serving in the post for two years.

Haley was considered a moderating, stable force in the Trump cabinet who supported a strong US presence in the UN, sometimes at odds with National Security John Bolton, who takes a more hawkish stance on foreign affairs.

Appearing beside Trump in the Oval Office, Haley touted making progress on issues including trade and nuclear disarmament in Iran and North Korea. Trump praised Haley's work, saying she could "have her pick" of roles if she wanted to return to the White House. 

Haley also put to rest speculation that her resignation meant a presidential run for her in 2020. 

"No, I am not running in 2020," she said. 



Scott Pruitt

Andrew Harnik/AP

Trump announced in a tweet on July 5 that he had accepted embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's resignation.

"Within the Agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this," Trump wrote.

At the time of his resignation, Pruitt was the subject of several federal ethics investigations for his lavish spending habits, his suspected conflicts of interests with lobbyists, and for reportedly enlisting his official government staff to carry out his personal errands.

Democratic lawmakers accused Pruitt of using staff to get him a Trump tower mattress, to try to get his wife a position managing a Chick-fil-A franchise, and to find his family a new apartment in a posh DC neighborhood.



Tom Bossert

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, was reportedly fired from his position by John Bolton, the new national security adviser.

Bossert's firing came on the second day of Bolton's tenure, April 10. He worked closely with former national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, ousted earlier this month, and is reportedly a close ally of chief of staff John Kelly.

"The president is grateful for Tom's commitment to the safety and security of our great country," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement confirming Bossert's departure. "President Trump thanks him for his patriotic service and wishes him well."



David Shulkin

AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Trump on Wednesday announced he is replacing embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, the White House physician.

"I am pleased to announce that I intend to nominate highly respected Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, MD, as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs," Trump tweeted, adding in a second tweet, "In the interim, Hon. Robert Wilkie of DOD will serve as Acting Secretary. I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin's service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!"

Shulkin, a former Obama administration official, had years of experience and was the only Cabinet member unanimously confirmed by Congress.

Shulkin has come under fire recently, with media reports speculating about his removal. 

An inspector general investigation in February alleged that he used $122,000 of taxpayer money on a trip to Europe with his wife and that he improperly accepted tickets to the Wimbledon tennis tournament.



H.R. McMaster

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

John Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, is replacing Army Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser.

"I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security advisor," McMaster said in a statement.

"I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the President with the best options to protect and advance our national interests," he continued.

McMaster's tenure was rocky and marked by disputes with his boss as well as other senior administration officials. Rumors bubbled up periodically about McMaster's impending firing, but he remained with the administration until now.

Trump tweeted: "I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend."



Andrew McCabe

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Andrew McCabe, the FBI's deputy director, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday — just a day before he would have reached pension eligibility.

McCabe, a 21-year veteran of the bureau, was planning to retire on Saturday. He was forced out of the FBI earlier this year amid an internal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into his approval of unauthorized disclosures to the media in October 2016 related to the bureau's Hillary Clinton email probe.

Sessions said in a statement Friday that a "both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news med and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions."

But McCabe said in a Friday night statement that he believed he was "singled out" over the events he witnessed and actions he took after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May.

"The OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn," McCabe said.



Rex Tillerson

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

President Donald Trump has asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to leave his post, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace him. The CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, will succeed Pompeo, becoming the first woman to lead the agency.

Trump reportedly asked Tillerson to step down on Friday.



Gary Cohn

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and President Donald Trump's top economic adviser, said on March 6 that he would resign.

Cohn had tangled with the president and Peter Navarro, the director of the White House National Trade Council, over tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel. 

Cohn was unable to convince the president to forgo the tariffs. According to The New York Times, which first reported the news, White House officials said there was no single factor behind Cohn's resignation. 

"Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again," Mr. Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. "He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people."



Hope Hicks

Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of Trump's closest confidants who's been with him "since the beginning", announced on February 28 she was resigning.

The resignation came just a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee, where she reportedly said that she told white lies for the president, but never lied about anything consequential related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump," Hicks said in a statement. "I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who first broke the news, reported that it was not clear when her last day in the White House will be, but that it's expected to be in the coming weeks. Hicks told she did not know what her next job will be.

"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years," Trump said in a statement. "She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood."



Rob Porter

Alex Brandon/AP

Rob Porter, a powerful White House staffer whose profile has increased in recent months, resigned February 7 after two of his ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse.

Porter denied the allegations in a statement, and said he will "ensure a smooth transition" when he leaves the White House.

The White House did not give a specific date for Porter's departure.

Here's his full statement:

"These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign. My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House."



Brenda Fitzgerald

AP

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned on January 31 after Politico reported that Fitzgerald purchased stock in Japan Tobacco while serving as CDC director.

Fitzgerald had also bought shares of the pharmaceutical companies Merck and Bayer and of the health insurer Humana.

The purchase of the tobacco shares especially raised concerns, because one of the CDC's goals is to prevent and reduce smoking.



Omarosa Manigault

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the White House's Office of Public Liaison, had her official last day on January 20.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced December 13 that Manigault was leaving to "pursue other opportunities."

Trump fired Manigault twice on her two seasons appearing on his television show, "The Apprentice."



Tom Price

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The secretary of health and human services had elicited bipartisan condemnation over the cost of his air travel.

Tom Price had cost taxpayers more than $1 million between his use of private planes for domestic travel and military jets for recent trips to Africa, Europe, and Asia, Politico reported.

He resigned September 29.



Sebastian Gorka

Alex Wong/Getty Images

A White House official confirmed Gorka's departure from the Trump administration on August 25.

The former Breitbart News staffer and ally of chief strategist Steve Bannon served as a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump.

In his departing letter, first published on a pro-Trump website, Gorka told Trump he could better serve the president's "America First" agenda from the outside.

Gorka was aligned with a once prominent nationalist arm of the Trump administration, occupied most prominently by Bannon and Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser.

Bannon's departure a week earlier was seen as a significant blow to other nationalist, far-right figures in the White House, and Gorka implied as much in his letter, saying it was clear to him that "forces that do not support the MAGA promise are — for now — ascendant within the White House."



Steve Bannon

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House officials confirmed that Trump had dismissed Bannon, his chief strategist, on August 18 after reports of clashes between Bannon and other members of the White House reached a fever pitch in recent days.

Bannon, who was instrumental in focusing the message of Trump's 2016 campaign, was considered the main conduit between Trump and his base of far-right voters. Bannon submitted his resignation to Trump earlier in August, The New York Times reports.

Matt Drudge, the conservative blogger, said Bannon might return to his former job as executive chairman of Breitbart News.



Anthony Scaramucci

Thomson Reuters

Scaramucci was hired as the White House communications director and then dismissed in less than two weeks. The decision came at the urging of John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff, according to a Times report.

Scaramucci most notably made headlines for his interview with The New Yorker in which he unleashed an expletive-filled tirade against members of the Trump administration.



Reince Priebus

Associated Press/Alex Brandon

Priebus resigned as White House chief of staff six months into his tenure after a public feud with Scaramucci.

Trump announced in a tweet on June 28 that Kelly, the secretary of homeland security at the time, would take over for Priebus. Priebus resigned less than a week after Sean Spicer, the former press secretary, who was considered a Priebus ally in the White House.



Sean Spicer

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Spicer, the embattled White House press secretary, resigned on July 21 after telling Trump he vehemently disagreed with the selection of Scaramucci as White House communications director.

Spicer's tenure was marred by controversy and a sometimes awkward relationship with the president. Spicer said at the time that he would stay in his role until August.



Michael Dubke

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Dubke resigned as the White House communications director in May. Dubke was replaced by Scaramucci, the founder of a hedge fund and a top Trump donor.



Walter Shaub

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Shaub resigned as the director of the Office of Government Ethics in July after clashing with the White House over Trump's complicated financial holdings.

Shaub called the Trump administration a "laughingstock" after his resignation, and he advocated strengthening the US's ethical and financial disclosure rules, according to The Times.



James Comey

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

Trump fired Comey as FBI director in May.

At the time of his firing, Comey was handling the bureau's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, creating a firestorm of controversy for the Trump administration.

Comey was the second FBI director to be fired by a president — Bill Clinton fired William Sessions in 1993.



Michael Flynn

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Flynn resigned in February after serving as national security adviser for less than a month.

Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about what he and Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the US, talked about in phone conversations during the transition — according to reports, they had discussed the Obama administration's sanctions against Russia.



Sally Yates

AP

Trump fired Yates, an appointee of President Barack Obama, as acting attorney general within his first 10 days in office. Yates had refused to uphold Trump's executive order on immigration and denounced it as unlawful.

Yates was also instrumental in the events that led to Flynn's ouster, as she had informed Trump days after his inauguration that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.



Preet Bharara

Thomson Reuters

Trump fired Bharara as the US attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan in March after he refused to submit his resignation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Bharara was fired along with several other Obama-era US attorneys, though Trump had initially asked Bharara during the transition to remain in his position.



Katie Walsh

REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

Walsh, the former deputy chief of staff and close ally of Priebus, left the White House after nine weeks to run America First Policies, a pro-Trump group outside the government.