Prior to President Trump taking office, Reince Priebus sat down for lunch with nearly a dozen former presidential chiefs of staff. They didn't think much of their successor's chances. "He struck a lot of us as clueless," recalls one. "He doesn't have a prayer," another remembers thinking. They weren't necessarily wrong; Priebus resigned after just six months on the job. Trump's former chief of staff sat down for a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair to shed light on those six months, which the publication calls "the most incompetent and least accomplished in modern history." Priebus would likely disagree, but he does admit there was chaos during his time at the White House—even more so than previously reported. "Take everything you’ve heard and multiply it by 50,” he says.
Priebus' first major decision as chief of staff—refusing to stop Trump from making an issue of his inauguration crowd size—set the tone for what was to come. “Is this something that I really want to go to battle over on day one?" Priebus recalls thinking. "Who needs a controversy over the inauguration?” Despite describing himself as "a knife fighter," Priebus was alternately unable or unwilling to temper Trump's impulses. For example, the president's social-media use: "Everybody tried at different times to cool down the Twitter habit—but no one could do it," Priebus says. Other topics touched on in the wide-ranging interview: Anthony Scaramucci, preventing Jeff Sessions from resigning multiple times, and why Priebus says "I still love" Trump. Read the full story here. (Read more Longform stories.)