Three senior White House officials — national security adviser Robert O’Brien, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell — are considering stepping down after Wednesday’s storming of Congress, according to two people familiar with their calculations.
An administration official said no final decisions have been made yet. It’s unclear who would become national security adviser if O’Brien and Pottinger departed. O’Brien, Pottinger and Liddell didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. O’Brien hurried back to Washington from Florida on Wednesday night, according to two people familiar with the matter.
O’Brien has been among the most loyal Trump officials in the administration, often praising President Donald Trump’s leadership on foreign policy matters to the point where some in Washington foreign policy circles considered him a sycophant. Pottinger has received less criticism and considerable praise for his urging early on for serious action to be taken on combating the coronavirus. Liddell is coordinating the transition from the White House side.
If they all departed, it would mark six officials who have left after the riots on Capitol Hill. Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s former press secretary who was chief of staff for Melania Trump, social secretary Rickie Niceta and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews all resigned on Wednesday after Trump drew heavy criticism for encouraging protesters to go to Capitol Hill and disrupt the certification of last year’s presidential election.
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