WASHINGTON — Pentagon press secretary Dana White abruptly resigned her position hours before the new year, leaving after a sometimes-tumultuous year and a half on the job.
“I appreciate the opportunity afforded to me by this administration to serve alongside Secretary [Jim] Mattis, our Service members and all the civilians who support them. It has been my honor and privilege. Stay safe and God bless,” White tweeted Dec. 31 from the official @ChiefPentSpox account.
That account has since been transferred over to Charles Summers Jr., who had been White’s deputy. Minutes after the tweet, the Pentagon confirmed Summers, a public affairs specialist who is a captain in the Navy Reserves, will be acting in that role until a new public affairs head is named.
White leaves under a cloud, following the summer revelations she was embroiled in an inspector general investigation.
According to leaked details of the report, staff alleged that White used them to run personal errands and complete nonwork-related tasks, including filling out her mortgage paperwork. When staff raised issues about being tasked to conduct White’s personal business to the inspector general, they were reportedly transferred out of their jobs.
A spokesperson for the DoD IG office said that White’s resignation “does not affect our investigation and we will continue to pursue these matters to completion,” adding the office will notify the department of results when the investigation is complete.
Named to the job in April 2017, White repeatedly clashed with media even before the revelation of the IG investigation, leading to her hosting several “clear the air” attempts with press. On-camera press briefings were irregular, and largely stopped in the summer of 2018.
Her departure comes just days after President Donald Trump announced he would be removing Defense Secretary Mattis, who had already announced plans to retire, earlier than anticipated.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.