President Trump's decision Friday to name Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as his chief of staff capped off a tumultuous seven-day period of intrigue and speculation that began with the hiring of a brash new communications director and ended with the ouster of a Republican stalwart.
Reince Priebus privately stepped down from his position as chief of staff on Thursday, but discussions between Trump and Priebus about the timing of the move began two weeks ago, press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House on Friday.
His resignation ended months of whispers that the former Republican National Committee chairman never consolidated authority in a White House filled with rival power centers.
"Priebus is a good man but served as a weak chief of staff who did not have the mandate or authority to be effective in that position," a Republican with ties to the White House told the Washington Examiner. "This will be perceived as a move caused by the failure of the healthcare bill and overall lack of progress with legislative accomplishments that were promised during the campaign."
Priebus said Friday that his resignation was "something, I think, the White House needs."
"It was something that I'd always talked to the president about," Priebus said during an appearance on CNN just a few hours after the decision was made public.
Priebus said he and the president had an agreement that "anytime either one of us thinks that we need to make a change or move in a different direction, let's just talk about it and get it done."
But the outgoing chief of staff dodged a series of questions Friday about the tensions that preceded his departure and the reasons the president cited when asking for his resignation.
Trump's decision to name Anthony Scaramucci as his communications director ruffled feathers in the West Wing after the president brought in the political novice over the objections of Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon. Sean Spicer, outgoing press secretary, stepped down in protest of the hire.
Scaramucci has waged an increasingly bitter campaign against Priebus in the week since he joined the administration, efforts that culminated with the publication of a sensational interview he gave to the New Yorker in which he called Priebus a "paranoid schizophrenic" and accused the chief of staff of leaking information to hurt him.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., flew on Air Force One to Long Island on Friday with Trump, Priebus, and Scaramucci, and said shortly after returning to the White House that he did not learn Priebus had resigned until just before Trump stepped off the plane.
"We didn't even know it. We were sitting right across from him and he kept a poker face," King said of Priebus.
Republicans on Capitol Hill rushed to praise Trump's choice of Kelly for chief of staff and to highlight Priebus' record of accomplishments.
Newt Gingrich, a close Trump ally and former House speaker, said Friday that "Trump would have lost" without the Republican National Committee infrastructure Priebus built during his six years there.
While House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., praised Priebus in a statement, and had defended the embattled aide in comments earlier this week, a source close to Ryan told the Washington Examiner that the speaker did not have any advance warning of Priebus' resignation.
Trump allies had begun to float potential replacements for Priebus this week as the president moved closer to choosing a new chief of staff. One name that had surfaced repeatedly in connection with the position was Wayne Berman, a Blackstone senior adviser with ties to the staff. But Berman never gained real traction in internal discussions about the job, one source said, because he did not have a close personal relationship with Trump.
The president came to know and like Kelly working with him in the administration, however. Trump said Friday that Kelly had stood out as a "star" of his Cabinet by stepping up border security and cracking down on illegal immigration.
The choice of Kelly drew accolades from throughout the GOP Friday, many of them hopeful that the DHS secretary could bring order to a chaotic West Wing.