What Trump’s Former White House Team Is Doing Now
Former President Donald Trump ran his administration like he ran his reality TV show — with cast members circling in and out as the drama aired across late night cable news shows. As Vulture points out, he regularly spoke about the ratings as episodes were pieced together through Fox News segments and tweet storms. In particular, his story arc with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, where they held a button measuring contest over a series of tweets and press releases, seemed about as infamously petty as the moment Theresa Giudice flipped a table while screaming at Danielle Staub on Season 1 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. The only difference is it came with the unfortunate caveat of involving real nuclear weapons and the panic-inducing threat of World War 3.
Now that the Trump administration has aired its final season (pending any 2024 reboot), the cast of The Apprentice: White House have all moved on to different projects. From the key players to the supporting characters, here’s what the stars of the Trump administration are up to now.
Life is a beach for Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump left her reasonably priced Nordstrom empire to serve in Donald Trump’s administration as an advisor to the president, a title she lost when the family retired (as most aging New Yorkers do) to Florida. Alas, there are still women to empower, and as the women who spearheaded the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, Ivanka has positioned herself as champion of women’s rights (and Goya beans). She’s got a lot of work to do, yet.
As The Guardian mused, it’s unlikely Donald’s eldest daughter will return to the world of fashion, post-White House. Both Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom dropped her line years ago, purportedly because of poor sales. She voluntarily discontinued her brand in 2018 to focus on politics. So, where does that leave her?
At the time of this writing, the Daily Beast describes Ivanka as a “Miami Beach bum,” which would arguably make her the prime candidate for a reality TV show (of which she’s apparently fielding many offers). She’s mostly been hanging around in straw fedoras outside her $3.2 million waterfront condo and getting ice cream with her kids, inadvertently stressing the point that she’s currently on a vacation of sorts. According to Axios, she’s “plotting her political reemergence,” so we’ll have to wait and see.
Jared Kushner is 'checked out of politics'
Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner is just a couple degrees of separation away from Taylor Swift through sister-in-law Karlie Kloss, an alleged ex-member of Swift’s purported girl squad. As such, Kushner — who previously served as a senior advisor to Donald Trump — has positioned himself as an outcast in politics, amassing a landfill of controversy large enough to rival that floating garbage island in the Pacific. According to Vox, this includes everything from his downgraded security clearance and numerous supposed conflicts of interest to his involvement in the infamous Trump Tower meeting that was at the center of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian interference with the 2016 U.S presidential election. So, where is Kushner now? Just about as far away from Washington as he can get.
According to CNN Politics, Kushner has been “MIA” from Trump’s so-called “political pack” and is, once and for all, “effectively done with Trump’s rhetoric” (perhaps Kloss got through to Kushner as she claims to have tried). One insider told the network that “he’s just checked out of politics,” purportedly along with his wife, considering another insider told CNN that he’s taking “some much needed time with his family.” Other insiders told the publication that Trump is currently “angry” with Kushner, but that would hardly be the first time someone fought with their in-laws.
Basically, Kushner and Ivanka are enjoying their new lives on an indefinite Miami vacation.
Donald Trump Jr. went from campaign leader to lawsuits
Donald Trump Jr. spent a lot of time in between slicking back his hair like an ’80s villain and trolling online to advance his father’s political career. While Don Jr. technically wasn’t on staff at the White House, he did work on both of Don Sr.’s presidential campaigns and even served on the presidential transition team in 2016. He’s since followed the family to Florida (along with his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News pundit who enjoys cosplaying Effie Trinket) and still appears to be vaguely involved in politics.
In February 2021, both Kimberly — who’s said to be prepping a run for California office — and Don Jr. — who has joked about running for office — spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, giving a speech that the Independent hailed as both “terrifying word salad” and “surprisingly entertaining.” It reportedly kicked off with a “WWE-style intro,” proving that Kimberly may, indeed, be reprising her self-appointed role in The Hunger Games.
Beyond that, Don Jr. is wrapped up in a serious investigation as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Reuters reports that the organization is being probed for potentially manipulating assets “to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.” According to the Daily Beast, Donald’s eldest is also implicated in a lawsuit filed by Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell, which alleges that he helped his father purposely incite the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. Thankfully, Don Jr. is loaded enough to pay for the lawyers.
Kayleigh McEnany went from the podium to the Fox newsroom
Kayleigh McEnany’s position at the White House raised a lot of questions. According to the Associated Press, she served dual roles, acting as the administration’s press secretary and a Trump 2020 campaign advisor. This reportedly created “odd moments” (like whether McEnany’s $183,000 per year taxpayer-financed salary was appropriate), and as Deadline writes, annoyed reporters who believed she was “acting more as a Trump campaign press secretary than government official.” She was, after all, meant to be representing the White House.
Still a newcomer when she left along with the rest of the administration, McEnany ultimately landed at Fox News before the ink was dry on whatever non-disclosure exit agreements the Trumps may have made her sign. Per a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of her financial disclosure forms revealed she signed a deal with the network in January 2021 after Trump had lost the election. During the president’s lame duck period, McEnany appeared on the network more than 20 times. Three months into her new gig, she’s already off to a good start, helping peddle a particularly bizarre conspiracy theory about President Joe Biden’s alleged “mental decline,” per Independent. She is, apparently, the dream Fox & Friends is made of.
Hope Hicks hung with Trump to the end
Hope Hicks may be one of the only communications directors in modern White House history to actively avoid social media. She doesn’t have a Twitter account, so it’s hard to tell exactly what she’s been doing since leaving the administration for good. Right now, it looks like she’s planning her next moves while living off savings she built during her brief break from the White House in 2018.
According to Newsweek, Hicks was a former Trump Organization employee before she became the communications director of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. She then became White House communications director, where she stayed until she resigned in March 2018 (and admitted to telling some “white lies” in pressers). Her allegiance to Trump paid off when the former staffer ended up landing a lucrative gig at Fox News.
According to CNBC, she became the executive vice president and chief communications officer of the network, grossing an annual salary of more than $1.8 million. This was in addition to her work as a communications consultant, where she landed high-paying speaking gigs, and a big step up from her government paycheck. At the time she left the White House, she reportedly had just $15,000 to her name.
Hicks rejoined the Trump administration in 2020, sticking it out through the Capitol riots as her peers resigned in droves, according to The New York Times. When she finally did resign, Bloomberg reported that she made it clear the riots had no bearing. After Biden transitioned, Hicks more or less disappeared.
You can read all about what Kellyanne Conway's doing soon
As former senior counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway is responsible for some of the Trump Administration’s most memorable story arcs, including the invention of the Bowling Green Massacre and the practically patented phrase “alternative facts.” Her unwavering support for Donald Trump, along with her husband’s unwavering opposition, made for a family dynamic so bizarre its unequivocally worthy of its own reality TV show. According to Vanity Fair, George Conway even reportedly claimed his wife was “in a cult.”
Kellyanne ended up resigning from her position in August 2020 to focus on her family, claiming (via The Washington Post) that the homestead needed “less drama, more mama.” Not long after, she became publicly embroiled with a salacious public feud with her teenage daughter, Claudia, who accused her mother of being “physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive” in a series of TikTok videos, according to Vox.
At the time of this writing, Kellyanne has supported her daughter throughout her run on the 19th season of American Idol, where she was eventually eliminated. Per Page Six, Kellyanne also managed to parlay her White House tenure into a “multimillion dollar book deal” (read: we’re getting a spin off!).
Betsy DeVos might be spending lots of time in court
Like Kellyanne Conway, Betsy DeVos certainly is a frontrunner for a potential Real Housewives of the White House (if Andy Cohen were ever to get the security clearance). She’s responsible for some of the most bizarre headlines, including that time she suggested a Wyoming school kept a gun on hand in case a grizzly bear decided to start auditing classes. Trump’s Secretary of Education stuck it out until the very end, despite her vast criticism for having absolutely no degree in education and no experience working in a school, according to Snopes.
The New York Times reports that the billionaire turned public servant resigned in January 2021 after accusing Trump of inciting the Capitol riots with his rhetoric. She later became embroiled in a class action lawsuit alleging that 160,000 former students of for-profit colleges who sought loan forgiveness were defrauded when, according to Newsweek, DeVos “illegally [delayed] action on tens of thousands” of applications that passed through the Education Department. As of this writing, she’s fighting her deposition on the grounds that she’s no longer a defendant because she resigned.
It’s not clear what’s going to happen with the suit, but DeVos is probably used to navigating similar legal matters. According to Insider, her family’s multi-level marketing company, Amway, which Axios reports helped make her “the richest member of former President Trump’s Cabinet,” was forced to pay out a class action settlement in 2010 after being sued for essentially being a pyramid scheme.
Elaine Chao faces accusations of misusing her office
Elaine Chao is often overshadowed by her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell, the longest serving GOP leader in history who, in recent years, has been “relishing his turn as villain to the left,” according to Politico. Chao helmed Former President Donald Trump’s Department of Transportation — an appointment that came with a slight pang of irony as her husband famously opposed the former reality star’s $2 trillion infrastructure spending bill, which as The Hill notes, was one of his initial campaign promises. Nonetheless, both Chao and McConnell were aligned on the insurrection, and it ultimately led to Chao’s resignation.
According to The New York Times, Chao was the first cabinet member to resign after the Capitol riots. In a Twitter resignation, she claimed she was “deeply troubled” by the events. Per NPR, McConnell later blamed Trump for provoking the riot (despite voting to acquit Trump in is second impeachment trial, which accused him of doing exactly that).
Chao is still married to McConnell, who became Senate Minority Leader in 2021 following the Georgia runoff elections that gave Democrats a narrow majority. According to Business Insider, who combed over a report from the Transportation Department’s inspector general, Chao faces accusations of allegedly misusing her office, including asking her staffers to help with her family’s business by promoting her father’s biography and “editing his Wikipedia page.”
The Mooch is making moves in crypto
For someone who lasted just 10 days in his position, Anthony Scaramucci sure made a notable impact on Former President Donald Trump’s White House. His role as communications director was so infamous that it warranted a recurring Bill Hader impersonation on Saturday Night Live. Vanity Fair even listed out the greatest hits of his moments in-office — and there were so many it’s difficult to choose. Basically, if the White House was a reality TV show, the Mooch would’ve been a fan favorite, if only for the series of ridiculous dramas that surrounded him (including allegedly having an expletive filled rant in which he called then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic”). So, where is he now?
The Mooch managed to parlay his 10 days in the White House into a tell-all book, Trump: The Blue Collar President, which can be purchased on Kindle for $2.99. The description reads, “No comet soared higher, burned brighter, or flamed out more spectacularly than Anthony Scaramucci,” which sounds about right considering the day he got fired, Harvard Law School’s alumni magazine erroneously declared him dead. Plus, Bill Hader doesn’t just return to SNL for anyone. Scaramucci biggest move as of March 2021? Bitcoin.
John Bolton burned his Trump bridge in print
There’s been major speculation as to whether John Bolton, Former President Trump’s third national security advisor, quit or was fired back in 2019. As we previously reported, during his term, he didn’t have quite the same drama as his predecessor, Michael Flynn, who ended up being a key player in Robert Mueller’s investigation, admitted he lied under oath about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. But by all accounts, Bolton did not get along with Trump. Per BBC, they regularly butted heads until Trump tweeted (via HuffPost) that Bolton’s services were “no longer needed.” He claimed that he asked Bolton to resign, but Bolton claimed he was the one who offered to resign.
Either way, Bolton left the White House and did what most scored staffers do: he wrote a salacious tell-all book. According to The New York Times, The Room Where It Happened centered around Trump’s first impeachment and claimed that the former president should have been investigated numerous times — not just when he allegedly pressured Ukraine in the infamous quid pro quo incident. Bolton claimed Trump regularly seemed willing to effectively “give personal favors to dictators he liked,” alleging “the pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept.”
Bolton’s book ended up becoming a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon before brick-and-mortar stores even stocked it, as the Justice Department attempted — and failed — to stop its publication.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants to take her political career full circle
Prior to her shocking exit from the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been with Donald Trump since the beginning. In 2016, CNN reported that the daughter of Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, first volunteered to join Trump’s campaign team as a senior advisor. Eventually, sometime after Sean Spicer hid in the bushes and set himself up for a future career wearing neon ruffles on Dancing With the Stars, Sanders became one of the administration’s most enduring press secretaries (and there were many).
Though Sanders lasted longer than Spicy — who was ridiculed to the point that even his suits were scrutinized — her tenure was, similarly, not without criticism. As Politico points out, she “became a lightning rod for some of the Trump administration’s most controversial policies,” which helped her remain on good terms with Trump after she bowed out of the administration in 2019, purportedly to spend more time with her children. Even at her time of departure, Trump championed Sanders as a potential Arkansas governor, just like her father. At the time, she told Politico that she had learned “never to rule anything out.”
Today, it looks like Trump’s wasn’t too far off. In January 2021, Sanders announced her gubernatorial campaign in Arkansas, and she still remains a vocal supporter of the former president’s policies.
John Ratcliffe wants to believe
John Ratcliffe has had a long career in politics, first serving as the mayor of Heath, Texas, then joining Congress as a U.S. Representative. His so-called story arc with the Trump administration was short and sweet, lasting all but a few months in the revolving door role of director of national intelligence. Nonetheless, he was there. He was part of it, and just as swiftly, he was replaced by Avril Haines, the first woman to ever hold the role, as President Joe Biden took office.
Since then, Ratcliffe’s biggest claim to fame is stoking the public’s fear of UFO’s during a Fox News segment where he announced the existence of a comprehensive report on so-called “anomalous aerial vehicles” (i.e. alien space crafts). “There are a lot more sightings than have been made public,” he told host Maria Bartiromo. “Some of those have been declassified. And when we talk about sightings, we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery that, frankly, engage in actions that are difficult to explain.”
He then went on to explain that some of these UFO’s used technology humans haven’t yet developed or “speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.” So, when War of the Worlds reboots as a documentary rather than a highly underrated Tom Cruise flick, don’t say no one ever warned you. The Space Force doesn’t sound so funny anymore, does it?
Mick Mulvaney transformed into a talking head
Mick Mulvaney had a precarious run with the Trump administration, which all appeared to go downhill after his famed “get over it” press conference, in which he seemingly defended the alleged quid pro quo that went down between Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Some could say — in true Real Housewives form — Mulvaney was downgraded from a cast member to a series regular a few months later.
According to Rolling Stone, Mulvaney first served as Trump’s third chief of staff in three years. He held the position for 14 months before the former president hit him with his infamous (and nearly trademarked) catchphrase from The Apprentice: “You’re fired!” As NPR reports, he was then enlisted as the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland, but resigned after deadly Capitol riots. In a CNBC interview, Mulvaney admitted that the day of the attacks, he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to let him know that he’d had enough. “We didn’t sign up for what you saw last night,” he told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, claiming that the president was “not the same as he was eight months ago.”
Since then, he’s abandoned his Trump-era Twitter account and made some media appearances, including with The Korean Times and Yahoo! Finance. He’s also become a vocal critic of the Biden administration.
Russell Vought is still firmly aboard the Trump Train
Like many Trump supporters faced with Twitter’s increasingly stringent policies regarding the spread of false news and conspiracy theories, Russell Vought left his post as Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director and joined Parler. The oft-scrutinized social media platform, which NPR reports was booted off Amazon’s servers for failing to remove “violent and hateful posts,” is widely regarded as a safe haven for the far-right. It even reportedly played a role in the organization of the deadly January riots at the Capitol, according to The Washington Post.
Prior to Vought’s White House exit, which came as President Joe Biden transitioned into office, he was criticized for attempting to “sabotage” the new administration. The Washington Post chastised the OMB director for failing to control debt within his two years of service, leading to a $6 trillion increase, the largest in American history. He was also accused of “block[ing] civil servants” in his department from “cooperating with the Biden transition” and refusing to help Biden with “policy analysis and budget preparation,” as is customary. Did he succeed in his efforts? Not really.
Upon taking office, Biden almost immediately sought to reverse some of Vought’s policies, which included reinstating accountability measures that Vought had dismantled and military diversity training that Vought targeted. Since leaving the White House, Vought moved on to launch the Center for American Restoration, which Axios describes as a “pro-Trump think tank.”
Stephanie Grisham is spending quality time with her dog
Stephanie Grisham was Melania Trump’s right hand woman — and she was one of the few people in the Trump administration who stuck it out until President Joe Biden was elected. As noted by The New York Times, she was one of the Trump’s “longest-serving aides,” having worked for the pair since Donald Trump’s first campaign.
Grisham was most widely known as the first lady’s chief of staff, though she briefly held the revolving door role of White House press secretary. In solidarity with her predecessors, she held fast through an onslaught of criticism, a seemingly unavoidable caveat to serving as Donald’s mouthpiece. CNN’s editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, even went as far as claiming she “made a mockery” of the role, performing more as a conservative TV pundit than a government employee, with more than 26 appearances on Fox News in less than a year.
According to Politico, Grisham ended up “abruptly” resigning the day after the deadly Capitol riots. A source told the publication that “the violence was a tipping point.” Grisham never publicly gave a reason, though she did later allude to it in a March 2021 retweet of Former President George W. Bush saying he was “still disturbed” at the thought of the insurrection. Today, Grisham appears to remain close with her old co-workers, supporting Kellyanne Conway’s daughter on American Idol. Mostly, she’s just hanging out with her dog, who occasionally gets the zoomies.
Fake president Richard Grenell has his sights on The Golden State
Richard Grenell lasted but a season as acting director of national intelligence before he was swiftly replaced by John Ratcliffe. During those sweet three months, Vanity Fair reports that the former ambassador to Germany was “widely disliked by diplomats and journalists.” A former staffer even told the magazine that “Ric Grenell is basically like the bumper guards at the bowling alley that you put up for kids so that they can hit some pins, that is what he is like for Trump.” Nonetheless, Grenell was the highest-ranking openly gay person in the government, and remained one of Donald Trump’s most loyal supporters throughout his tenure as president.
Grenell moved onto making his own presidential moves — at least if you consult Google. His biggest claim to fame is an algorithm error that listed him as the actual president of the United States. As The Guardian reports, upon learning of his sham appointment, Grenell began tweeting out executive orders and teasing President Joe Biden about tripping up the stairs to Air Force One. “I will run up the stairs without tripping,” he wrote. Sadly, his term as fake president was even more short lived than his term as acting director.
The Guardian seems to believe that Grenell is planning to run for state office. In February 2021, Politico reported that the former diplomat had spoken with Trump about running for California governor as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom faced a potential election recall.
Nikki Haley is hanging out in the non-profit world now
Nikki Haley was Donald Trump’s beloved ambassador to the United Nations. During her tenure, she famously helped the former president exit the Paris Climate Accord, a move which the BBC notes was met with “widespread international condemnation.” She stirred up further controversy by aiding Trump as he moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, triggering a wave of violence throughout the region. She also helped Trump exit the Iran Nuclear Deal and pulled the U.S. out of the UN Human Rights Council, which she later described as a “cesspool of political bias that makes it a mockery of human rights.”
According to The Guardian, Haley was “one of the few Trump officials to leave on good terms” when she resigned in 2018. As such, the former South Carolina governor is regularly pitched as “a potential Republican presidential candidate for either 2024 or 2028.” While that’s not ruled out, it looks like she’s far more focused on fundraising for her party and her work with nonprofits. In recent years, she’s raised money for Republican congressional, senate, and gubernatorial campaigns, and returned to the nonprofit she founded that helped underprivileged rural students in South Carolina. She also founded Stand for America, another nonprofit with the stated goal of “promoting public policies that strengthen America’s economy, culture, and national security.”
Jovita Carranza continues to champion small business owners
Jovita Carranza joined the Trump administration in 2017 as the U.S. treasurer, but in 2020 — at the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic — she was placed at the helm of the Small Business Administration (per The New York Times, she was nominated in 2019 to replace Linda E. McMahon, a former WWE chief executive, but there were delays in her confirmation).
According to Forbes, her new appointment made her “the highest-ranking Latina in Trump’s cabinet,” and she crafted the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped preserve employee wages at small businesses that were forced to shut down or partially close amidst the pandemic. Prior to that, she spent decades in business administration, working her way up from an overnight shift at UPS, where she spent 30 years, and eventually landing a role as the SBA deputy administrator for President George W. Bush.
Carranza left the Trump administration at the end of January 2021 as Joe Biden took office, but according to Fox Business, she’s still the head of JCR Group, a business consulting firm that she launched during the Obama administration. She has also championed women entrepreneurs by aiding in the expansion of the WBC program to launch Women’s Business Centers around the nation. Though she’s no longer serving in her role, she has contributed to press releases helping showcase the SBA’s work.
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