- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Addressing the latest round of White House resignations, President Trump said Tuesday the West Wing has “tremendous spirit,” but acknowledged it’s a tough place to work because he enjoys pitting staffers against each other to get the best advice.

“I like conflict,” the president said at a White House news conference. “It’s tough. I like having two people with different points of view. I like watching it, I like seeing it, and I think it’s the best way to go. I certainly have that, and then I make a decision.”

He said his White House “has a tremendous energy and we have tremendous talent.”

His comments came a week after trusted Communications Director Hope Hicks resigned, the latest high-profile departure in the past 14 months that has seen a relatively high turnover rate in the West Wing of about 33 percent. There are also reports that Mr. Trump wants to move out National Security adviser H.R. McMaster, and of friction between Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and senior adviser/son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The president wouldn’t answer a question about whether he intends to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he has criticized repeatedly. But he said he expects more staff changes, and he welcomes the turnover.

“There will be people — I’m not going to be specific — but there will be people that change,” Mr. Trump said. “They always change. Sometimes they want to go out and do something else. But they all want to be in the White House. I have a choice of anybody. I could take any position in the White House, and I’ll have a choice of the ten top people having to do with that position. And they love this White House because we have energy like rarely before.”

Mr. Kelly said last week he didn’t offer to resign in the wake of his handling of the resignation last month of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who is accused of abuse by two ex-wives. Mr. Kelly also decided to downgrade Mr. Kushner’s security clearance, a move followed by reports that it created friction with the president.

Among the staff departures last year were chief strategist Steve Bannon, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer, national security adviser Michael Flynn and short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

The president lashed out at reports that he’s having trouble replacing staffers who leave, because of the White House’s reputation for a grueling work environment with long hours and turmoil.

“Believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House,” Mr. Trump said. “They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. Not only terms of it looks great on their resume, it’s just a great place to work.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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