WASHINGTON – Mike Dubke, the Hamburg native who signed on to be President Trump's communications director only three months ago, has resigned in what could just be part one of a White House staff shakeup.
"The reasons for my departure are personal, but it has been my great honor to serve President Trump and his administration," Dubke said in a note to his associates. "It has also been my distinct pleasure to work side-by-side, day-by-day with the staff of the communications and press departments. This White House is filled with some of the finest and hardest working men and women in the American government."
In the note, which was first reported by the New York Times Tuesday, Dubke said he tendered his resignation as assistant to the president for communications on May 18. However, he offered to remain in his job while Trump was on his first international trip.
Dubke's departure is no surprise. A White House staff shakeup has been in the works for weeks, and Trump's communications team – which often struggled to keep up with the fast-Tweeting president and the controversies surrounding him – was rumored to be among his first targets for restructuring.
Trump had a hard time filling the job of communications director, picking Dubke in February after Jason Miller, who filled the slot during Trump's campaign, refused to take the post.
A graduate of Hamburg High School and Hamilton College, Dubke, 47, previously ran Crossroads Media, which billed itself as "one of the major media placement firms on the national scene."
Dubke also was one of the partners in Black Rock Group, a conservative political consulting firm named after the Buffalo neighborhood. Married and a father of two, Dubke is a longtime Buffalo Bills season ticket holder.
The job of White House communications director is, oddly, largely a behind-the-scenes post, one that involves planning the president's messaging through press outreach, social media, travel and other means.
At the time of his selection, colleagues said Dubke fit the job well.
“He is very skilled in what he does ... which is selling the message,” said Carl Forti, Dubke's partner in Black Rock Group. “The White House could use his perspective and long-range vision.”
Forti said Dubke was skilled at crisis communications, but as the Trump presidency careened from crisis to crisis, attention turned to its communications operation, which often appeared to be slow in reacting to events.
Dubke remained largely behind the scenes as one Trump controversy after another poured out of the White House, with leaks often fueling the news – and the president then taking to Twitter to rage about them.