Cabinet

Trump moves to quash Priebus rumors, says ‘he’s done a great job’

The president says the administration is running like a fine-tuned machine

 

Perhaps overlooked in all the fiery comments at President Trump’s press conference Thursday was the chief executive’s ringing endorsement of Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, who has been plagued by rumors his job was on thin ice.

"Here is my chief of staff," Trump said when discussing Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican Party during the 2016 campaign and now head of the nascent White House operations. "Really good guy, did a phenomenal job at RNC. I mean, he won the election, right? We won the presidency."

"You take a look, he's done a great job,'' Trump added.

Trump also  endorsed Priebus' strong penchant for putting out fires-- stories unfavorable, or considered untrue by the administration-- that are ignited in the media. 

"I see stories of chaos, chaos, yet it is the exact opposite," Trump said. "This is a fine-tuned machine and Reince happens to be doing a good job but half of his job is putting out lies by the press."

Earlier this week, Breitbart, a conservative publication once headed by Steve Bannon, the powerful White House chief strategist and an equal to Priebus in the upper echelon of the Trump White House, came out with an article that was sharply critical of the 44-year old lawyer.

The piece was one of several quoting White House sources who criticized the rollout of the Trump immigration executive order.

Bannon was furious about the report a White House source confirmed to Fox News. Bannon and Priebus then quickly spoke to reporters to counter the narrative that there was acrimony between them.

"Reince is doing an amazing job," Bannon told The Hill. "We are executing President Trump's agenda in record time. That's because Reince is getting the job done."  

Other aides, many of whom were not authorized to speak to the press, have reached out to Fox News to say they believe the stories  have been "unfair" toward their boss.

They privately say that the rumors are not substantive, and may represent a tiny fraction of a staff that is primarily very supportive of Priebus and his management style.

A senior White House aide described Priebus to Fox News as a "tremendous leader who built a world class political party, and that know-how and management skill, is why he's (Trump's chief of staff)."

A few blind quotes don't reflect the tremendous trust and faith everyone has in him,'' he said.

"Stories about the president not approving of the chief of staff are totally ridiculous,'' another administration official told Fox News. The president himself praised Priebus in his first-ever press conference as president. "

"Nothing could be a stronger endorsement than that,'' the official said.

Fox News’ Serafin Gomez contributed to this story.