When President Donald Trump reportedly ordered the firing of the special counsel Robert Mueller, White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit. Trump eventually backed off and Mueller stayed on the job.
McGahn is the latest member of the White House to threaten to quit over a move he believed would be disastrous for the president. Other officials have done the same, apparently as a way to convince Trump to back down on certain decisions they deem catastrophic.
“I think Trump acts on his instincts – as a businessman you just fire people who aren’t loyal or give you issues,” a source close to the White House told BuzzFeed News. “I think when Kelly and legal counsel explain to him how bad this would play out and harm his presidency, he yields.”
Here’s everyone who has reportedly threatened to quit:
After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May, chief of staff John Kelly reportedly threatened to resign. Comey and Kelly reportedly had a professional relationship and a “deep mutual respect” for each other.
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Kelly often threatened to quit as leverage over Trump to get him to follow orders. It was one of the few weapons Kelly had in his arsenal, a presidential adviser told The Times.
Kelly has repeatedly denied any intention to quit.
“Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I’m not quitting today,” he said as rumors swirled that he was itching to leave the White House.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, whom Trump selected to replace James Comey, reportedly threatened to resign after being pressured by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Trump had previously expressed disapproval of McCabe and suggested that he was biased against him.
“Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!” Trump tweeted inJuly, referring to the FBI’s investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Trump’s attacks on McCabe didn’t end there. In a subsequent tweet, he called the former acting director a “Comey friend” who should’ve been replaced.
Following Trump’s controversial speech to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in July, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was close to resigning from his post, NBC reported at the time.
Tillerson had reportedly become incensed because Trump injected politics into what many thought should have been a neutral speech to young Boy Scouts. Tillerson was the national president of the BSA from 2010 to 2012.
Trump’s speech came just days after Tillerson reportedly called Trump “a moron” during a meeting with administration officials. He has consistently denied the report.
Gary Cohn, the director of the White House Economic Council, came close to resigning in the wake of Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer.
Outrage among Democrats and Republicans ensued after Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence that took place during a neo-Nazi rally. Many interpreted his comments as an attempt to equate the leftist protestors with white supremacists.
“I have come under enormous pressure both to resign and to remain in my current position,” Cohn admitted at the time, before explaining why he chose to stay.
He also went so far as to draft a resignation letter.
Cohn, who is Jewish, said that the president must do better “in consistently and unequivocally condemning” groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.