Trump Kicks His Chief of Staff out of the Oval Office for Coughing in His Presence

“You just can’t. You just can’t cough.”

Shawn Thew/ZUMA

For all the anonymous, bruising leaks that have detailed palace intrigue inside the Trump White House, only a few moments have emerged on tape allowing the public to glimpse the administration’s chaos for themselves—and see that none of this is normal. 

Luckily, the latest installment of ABC’s headline-making interview with the president provides such a rare opportunity.

The moment came while Trump discussed the longstanding fight to release more information about his personal finances with George Stephanopoulos. He claimed he hoped a so-called “financial statement” will one day be publicly available because it is “fantastic.” Seconds later, he abruptly stops.

“Let’s do that over. He’s coughing in the middle of my answer,” the president said referring to his own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney.

The ever-media minded president, who is a noted germaphobe and a former reality television star, continued: “I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.”

“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room. You just can’t. You just can’t cough,” Trump added, as microphones captured Mulvaney’s exit. “Boy, oh boy! Okay, do you want to do that a little differently then?” Trump asked the television crew.

The scolding is only the latest instance in the president’s long record of humiliating and undermining aides. Many of them have quickly found themselves discarded from his inner circle.

THANK YOU.

We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.