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1 Jan, 2019 17:14

‘Fetch my dry-cleaning?’ Pentagon spokeswoman quits amid reports she made staff run personal errands

‘Fetch my dry-cleaning?’ Pentagon spokeswoman quits amid reports she made staff run personal errands

Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White stepped down from her role on Monday amid recent allegations of misconduct and reports that she made multiple staffers act as her personal errand runners.

On Twitter, White said she appreciated the opportunity to serve in the Trump administration, calling it an “honor and privilege.” In a separate message to Defense Department personnel, she said it was “with a heavy heart” that she had submitted her resignation letter, but did not make any mention of the embarrassing controversy which had marred her tenure.

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Allegations emerged in August that White was under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for misusing her support staff by ordering them to conduct personal business and inappropriate errands for her.

Among other things, White reportedly asked her staff to fetch her dry-cleaning, arrange hair and make-up appointments for her — and even to work on her personal mortgage application paperwork, as well as other personal finance tasks.

Staff were also directed to pick up snacks and pantyhose for her at the Pentagon pharmacy and were “repeatedly dispatched to the cafeteria” to get her lunch, reports said. Other staffers were even asked to drive White to work on snowy days. Generously, however, White did reimburse a staffer for the mileage cost of driving her to work. When the understandably perturbed employees filed complaints against her, however, White reportedly transferred them.

Multiple officials told CNN that White had asked staff to carry out the inappropriate assignments and as many as half a dozen personnel were interviewed as part of the investigation.

White’s is the latest in a flurry of end-of-year departures from the Trump administration, following on the heels of former White House chief of staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary James Mattis, and special envoy in the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk.

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White’s exit is more than likely to do with the misconduct allegations and not any policy differences with the administration, however —  although there was no official confirmation that the inspector general’s investigation was what ultimately led to her departure.

White announced her exit just hours after Mattis issued a farewell message to the Defense Department, in which he quoted Abraham Lincoln and told staff to“hold fast” in tough times — a comment that was widely interpreted as a dig at Trump, who has been at odds with top military figures over his desire to wind down US operations in Syria.

Charles Summers, White’s former deputy, will assume the role of acting Pentagon chief spokesperson on Tuesday.

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