President Trump’s headline-grabbing communications director Anthony Scaramucci was shown the door Monday after just 11 days on the job – as retired Gen. John Kelly took command of the White House staff, moving swiftly to impose order on a West Wing gripped for weeks by infighting.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not confirm reports that Kelly personally requested Scaramucci's removal -- but she made clear that the former Homeland Security secretary now has full control of the staff.
“General Kelly has the full authority to operate in the White House, and all staff will report to him,” Sanders said, adding there are no other anticipated staff shakeups in the works.
'General Kelly has the full authority to operate in the White House, and all staff will report to him.'
Scaramucci's stint as communications director came with the condition that he would report directly to the president, leaving unclear -- until Monday -- how he and Kelly would interact.
"Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director," the White House said in a terse written statement. "Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him the best."
Kelly was sworn in just hours earlier Monday as the new White House chief of staff -- ironically, stepping into a vacancy that Scaramucci, nicknamed “The Mooch,” played at least some role in creating.
The abrupt decision to remove Scaramucci signals Kelly’s no-nonsense approach to a White House whose inner drama has drawn recent media comparisons to "Survivor" and "Game of Thrones." The New York Times reported that Kelly sought Scaramucci's removal.
Scaramucci's presence at the White House triggered tensions in Trump’s inner circle from the start.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in protest right away, incidentally using the same “clean slate” language used to explain Scaramucci’s departure.
A week later, Reince Priebus left as chief of staff. And it was Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier, who got most of the credit for driving out Priebus, whom he had attacked in a profanity-laced tirade with a New Yorker reporter. In that interview, Scaramucci also made disparaging remarks about Steve Bannon.
A White House source still expects that Spicer will leave the White House as planned – even though the president 11 days ago asked him to stay.
Sanders said Trump thought Scaramucci’s R-rated remarks about his senior staff were “inappropriate.”
Despite his resignation, Spicer remained in the White House Monday, saying he was there to assist with the communications transition.
As the Scaramucci news spread, Kelly was spotted in the East Room smiling and taking pictures with guests who were gathering for a Medal of Honor presentation.
Earlier Monday, Trump downplayed the palace intrigue behind Kelly’s new job and said in a tweet that the White House is not in “chaos.”
“Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages rising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” he tweeted.
Democrats quickly pounced on the Scaramucci news with California Rep. Adam Schiff tweeting: “Thank you Anthony @Scaramucci for your service. I speak for a grateful nation when I say ‘has it really only been 11 days?!?.’”
Trump on Monday convened his first Cabinet meeting with Kelly at his side, telling his team it is "doing incredibly well" and "starting from a really good base." On how he would deal with rising tensions with North Korea, Trump said only: "It will be handled."
Seated across from Trump was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has stayed on the job while Trump has publicly criticized him in interviews and on social media.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was ousted from the campaign in June 2016, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he expected Kelly would "restore order to the staff" but also stressed that Trump was unlikely to change his style.
"I say you have to let Trump be Trump. That is what has made him successful over the last 30 years. That is what the American people voted for," Lewandowski said. "And anybody who thinks they're going to change Donald Trump doesn't know Donald Trump."
Fox News' John Roberts, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.