Trump's 24-year-old deputy drug czar Taylor Weyeneth to resign after questions over work history

Taylor Weyeneth, a controversial member of the Trump administration who came under scrutiny in early January over his lack of qualifications, will resign his post later this month, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday evening.

“Mr. Weyeneth has decided to depart ... at the end of the month,” the White House said in a statement obtained by the Post. He had previously been reassigned to “administrative work” after questions arose about his background.

Weyeneth, a 24-year-old former Trump campaign worker, was appointed last year to be the deputy chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, or ONDCP, the agency tasked with coordinating federal drug-control efforts. However, as the Post originally reported, Weyeneth had nearly no previous experience after he graduated college in May 2016, aside from working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and transition.

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The largest crowd

Spicer did not have the strongest start to his time as press secretary. On Trump’s first full day as president, Spicer was dispatched by his boss to insist that the crowd the previous day was “the largest audience to witness an inauguration, period.” Aerial photos of the event compared with both inaugurations for Barack Obama clearly showed otherwise, and the data — both in official estimates and in public transportation use — indicated the same. Trump called the National Park Service personally in order to find proof that his crowd size was larger, but none existed. The disagreement between the White House and the NPS led to a monthslong investigation by the agency’s inspector general, which found no improprieties in the Park Service actions.

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File photo)

Jared Kushner’s difficulty with forms

Trump put a lot of responsibility on his son-in-law from the start, placing the real estate heir in charge of everything from solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict to reorganizing the federal government with business school savvy. Kushner has yet to achieve any of those goals. He’s also struggled with accurately filling out the paperwork necessary to work for the federal government. After initially submitting the SF-86, Kushner had to update it in April to include a meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, a misstep his lawyer called an “error.” The errors continued, with Kushner eventually supplementing the list three times with 100 additional foreign contacts. Democrats asked for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked, and the heat turned up as reports surfaced that he and wife Ivanka Trump were using a private email server and that his family was attempting to sell visas in China. The head of the government bureau that processes background checks said in regard to the White House adviser’s forms that he had “never seen that level of mistakes,” which is potentially problematic because the forms warn that those who submit false information could be charged with a federal crime and face up to five years in prison.

Kushner wasn’t the only one to have a bout of amnesia when filling out forms. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin initially failed to disclose nearly $100 million in assets while neglecting to mention his role as director at an investment fund in a tax haven.

(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Manafort’s  ‘very limited role’

As investigations into Russia’s potential effect on the 2016 election turned to Paul Manafort, Spicer wanted to make it clear that the lobbyist and operative did not play a prominent role in the campaign. “Obviously there’s been discussion of Paul Manafort, who played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time,” said Spicer during a March 20 briefing.

Manafort was the chairman of the Trump campaign, a position he held from May to August 2016, although former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Associated Press that Manafort was in operational control of the campaign starting April 7.

(Photo: REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

The curious case of the vice president

Since Trump became president-elect, there are two ways to look at Mike Pence’s public statements about the campaign’s potential ties to Russia, which have had to be corrected on several points. The explanation by Pence and his staff is that the former congressman and governor was in the dark about a number of issues. But Democratic lawmakers investigating the 2016 campaign are asking questions about what exactly Pence knew, and when.

In interviews, Pence initially dismissed the idea that former national security adviser Mike Flynn had discussed lifting sanctions on Russia with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. Flynn has since admitted that the subject did come up, however, and Pence’s office has said the vice president was simply misled by Flynn, who also lied to the FBI. But Pence has also pleaded ignorance about law enforcement looking into other shady deals potentially involving Flynn. The New York Times reported that Flynn told the transition team that he was under investigation for his work for the government of Turkey two weeks before he was nominated to his extremely sensitive post. An administration official told CNN that despite running the transition team, Pence wasn’t aware until March.

Pence also dismissed the idea that the campaign had any ties to WikiLeaks, telling Fox News in October 2016 that “nothing could be further from the truth.” In November, the Atlantic published a series of direct messages between Donald Trump Jr. and the WikiLeaks Twitter account that occurred two months before the election, proving there had at least been some contact. Pence’s team released a statement saying he had just learned of the communication with the release of the story. So far the strategy of pleading ignorance seems to be keeping Pence out of special counsel Robert Mueller’s sights, but some legislators are seeking answers about the specifics of what Pence knew and when.

(Photo: REUTERS/Mandel Ngan/Pool)

Frederica Wilson

The deaths of four U.S. service members in Niger spun into a weeklong controversy that damaged the credibility of chief of staff John Kelly. After initially avoiding an extended statement on the deaths, Trump declared that previous presidents hadn’t contacted gold star families, a statement immediately refuted by members of prior administrations. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., then stated that the family of Sgt. La David Johnson found some of the comments Trump made to them in his call to be disrespectful. The president called Wilson a liar and said he had proof, but Johnson’s family supported her account.

Kelly, a gold star father whose son died in Afghanistan, was then called in to defend Trump. The general attacked Wilson’s character, misrepresenting a speech she had given in 2015 to portray her as a showboating publicity seeker. Video of Wilson’s speech showed Kelly was wrong, but the White House didn’t back down. Kelly said he stood by his statement and would “absolutely not” apologize. Sanders said it was “highly inappropriate” to question Kelly in any way because he was a four-star Marine general.

(Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)

Godwin’s law in the briefing room

Godwin’s law states that the longer an online conversation goes, the more likely someone will eventually be compared to Hitler. This does not usually apply to the White House briefing room, but 2017 was not a usual year. In an April briefing, Spicer turned to the genocidal German leader when discussing a gas attack in Syria, saying, “You had someone as despicable as Hitler, who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” Considering Hitler’s regime used poison gas to murder millions of people in concentration camps, a reporter offered Spicer the opportunity to clarify. He made it worse, saying “[Hitler] was not using the gas on his own people in the same way that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad was doing.”

Following the briefing, Spicer issued a second clarification in a statement to NBC News, saying, “In no way was I trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the Holocaust. However, I was trying to draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on innocent people.” It was pointed out that using the term “innocent people” to describe Syrian victims could be seen as implying that Holocaust victims were not innocent. He then issued a third clarification, amending the final line to read “draw a contrast of the tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers.”

(Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)


In May, the president posted a short, sweet, late-night tweet that read, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” The apparent typo of “coverage” lingered for a few hours before being deleted, with Trump adding “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!” That would have been that, save for Spicer’s apparent conclusion that it was unacceptable to admit that the president had simply mistyped. “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant,” said Spicer when asked about it at the daily briefing, an unnecessarily cryptic response. The mystery surrounding covfefe was thankfully short-lived, but the White House’s response will stand as its most pointless cover-up.

(Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


Questions quickly arose about his qualifications after multiple discrepancies popped up on several of his résumés and reports surfaced that another job he held at a New York law firm in 2015 ended after Weyeneth failed to show up for work.

He appeared to rise quickly at the ONDCP due to a high level of staff turnover and numerous vacancies at the agency. During the recent government shutdown, the Post noted, Weyeneth was one of three employees at the agency that continued to work after he was listed as essential.

News of his departure comes just a week after 10 Democratic senators expressed their displeasure with Weyeneth’s appointment. In a letter sent to the White House, the group accused Trump of failing to fill key roles at the ONDCP and the Drug Enforcement Agency and falling behind on promises to tackle the opioid epidemic.

“You have claimed that the opioid epidemic is a top priority for your administration, but the personnel you have staffing these key agencies – and the lack of nominees to head them – is cause for deep concern,” the group wrote. “This crisis knows no bounds, and we are committed to working across party lines with anyone who is serious about addressing this devastating epidemic.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are seen on March 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Tal Rubin/GC Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attends the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivana Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
BEDMINSTER, NJ - OCTOBER, 25: In this handout image provided by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump (R) and Jared Kushner (L) attend their wedding at Trump National Golf Club on October 25, 2009 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo Brian Marcus/Fred Marcus Photography via Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, center, speaks as his sons Donald Trump Jr., left, and Eric Trump, right, listen during a caucus night rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Trump's dominating victory in the Nevada caucuses pushes him further out ahead of his nearest competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, giving his unorthodox candidacy a major boost heading into Super Tuesday contests next week. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
20/20 - Donald Trump and his family - including wife Melania Trump and his children - sit down for an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters in a special edition of 20/20 airing Friday, Nov. 20 (10-11pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) DONALD TRUMP, JR., IVANKA TRUMP, ERIC TRUMP, TIFFANY TRUMP, BARBARA WALTERS
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Marla Maples (L) and Tiffany Trump have dinner at Sumosan on July 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of #455504994 with alternate crop.) (L-R) Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska attend The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Donald Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska attend the New York Observer's 2013 Young Philanthropy event at PH-D Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown on April 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

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