White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus returned to Washington following the first leg of President Donald Trump’s maiden foreign trip.
The move cames as the White House remains embroiled in several scandals involving the investigations into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election.
Priebus flew home on the same government plane as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who also left Riyadh Monday, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Even people close to the administration quickly speculated he was being sent home, but Sanders said Priebus had always planned to head home early to help with the unveiling of Trump’s budget this week. His schedule had not been announced before the trip began.
Trump departed Riyadh Monday morning for Israel. His five-stop, nine-day tour also will take him to Italy and Belgium.
He was joined by an unusually large group, including first lady Melania Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, and his top aide Steve Bannon. It’s unusual for a chief of staff to travel on foreign trips.