Concerned about White House infighting, Trump eyes shake-up: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a statement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, concerned about infighting among his team, is considering a major shakeup of senior officials on his staff in an effort to eliminate some of the White House drama, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The crisis in Syria sharpened Trump’s desire to reduce the infighting and he is expected to make some staffing decisions soon, the Journal said, citing a senior administration official.

Asked about the article, a White House spokeswoman said it was “completely false.”

The Journal said Trump has spoken to some of the people close to him in recent days about the performance of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and has asked for the names of possible replacements.

Some people close to the president have suggested Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council and a former executive at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, the Journal reported.

Another aide who could be reassigned is Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who has tangled with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a close adviser, the Journal said.

Trump removed Bannon from the National Security Council this week in what was seen as a victory for new national security adviser H.R. McMaster, a former Army lieutenant general who was working to exert control over the national security apparatus.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the Journal story was an attempt to distract from Trump’s “bold and decisive” action in ordering missile strikes on Syria, the Senate’s confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and the visits of foreign leaders this week.

“Once again this is a completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success taking place in this administration.” she said. “The only thing we are shaking up is the way Washington operates as we push the President’s aggressive agenda forward,” she said.

Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Alistair Bell