Priebus in exclusive CNN interview: 'It's over. I'm moving on.'
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - "Look, it's over," outgoing White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Friday evening in his first television appearance since resigning from his post, "I'm moving on."
In "The Situation Room" exclusive interview, the former Republican National Committee chairman said he had resigned Thursday, citing President Donald Trump's desire to "go a different direction."
He spoke repeatedly of the fresh start his exit would provide the White House.
"Like I said a couple weeks ago, I said the president has a right to change directions. A president has a right to hit a reset button. I think it's a good time to hit the reset button. I think he was right to hit the reset button, and I think that it was something that I think the White House needs. I think it's healthy. And I support him in it."
He added, "I mean, I think bringing in fresh face, I think bringing in fresh people is a good thing."
Priebus' words triggered a sense of deja vu; exactly one week ago, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned and told Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity he wanted to give incoming White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders a "clean slate."
Priebus also appeared on "Hannity" July 21, saying Spicer, Scaramucci and Trump would all get to "start fresh."
Just as Spicer touted Trump's "gracious" reaction to his resignation, Priebus heaped praise on the president during his interview with Blitzer on Friday.
"I'm always going to be a Trump fan. I'm on Team Trump, and I look forward to helping him achieve his goals and his agenda for the American people ... I'm going to honor the president every day. I'm going to honor his agenda and I'm going to honor our country."
Trump, in turn, said in a tweet he was proud of Priebus: "I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!"
Priebus said he resigned of his own accord: "I resigned and [Trump] accepted it."
An outspoken Scaramucci made headlines Thursday when he said of Priebus in The New Yorker, "Reince is a f***ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac." In the profanity-laced article, Scaramucci accused Priebus of being responsible for leaks plaguing the White House.
"I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you," he told The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. "Reince Priebus - if you want to leak something - he’ll be asked to resign very shortly."
Priebus shrugged it all off, telling Blitzer such allegations were "ridiculous, Wolf. Come on. Give me a break."
Priebus did, however, acknowledge there was a leaking issue in the White House, one he hopes his "brilliant" successor, Homeland Security Secretary Gen. John F. Kelly, can sort out.
He said he supported Trump's selection of Kelly: "He wanted to include me in figuring out how and who would be a great successor and a good chief of staff ... We talked about a few different people together, and he thought John Kelly would be the number one pick. I thought it was a fantastic choice. I look forward to working with him."
Priebus told Blitzer he was "doing great" and anticipated spending more time with his family.
"God is good and everything works to good in the end. I believe that. I'm not worried about that. I care about my wife and my kids. That's what I care about most. And that's what I live for."
He said he's going to "take a little vacation," and shot down speculation he would become ambassador to Greece: "No. That's not going to happen."
Late Friday night, Priebus appeared on "Hannity," echoing much of what he had said on "The Situation Room."
He told host Hannity, "I'm going to be on Team Trump all the time. I'll always be out there trying to help the president."
Throughout the evening, the Twitterverse reminded President Trump of his Jan. 10, 2012 tweet in which he mocked President Barack Obama for having a high turnover of chiefs of staff:
"3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can't manage to pass his agenda."
CNN reports Priebus' 189-day run marks the shortest term a White House chief of staff has ever served.