Mr. Ruddy said he spent 30 minutes with the president on Friday night after Mr. Trump’s dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump resort in Palm Beach, Fla., of which Mr. Ruddy is a member.
“I do think it was botched,” Mr. Ruddy said of the executive order on immigration, which caused confusion at airports as officials struggled to interpret it and which has been halted by the courts. He said the fallout had obscured lobbying restrictions imposed by Mr. Trump on executive branch employees after they leave the administration.
“Nobody talks about that,” Mr. Ruddy said. “It’s a very popular position Trump took. But nobody’s talking about that because they got caught in this quagmire.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy communications director for the White House, defended the chief of staff, saying: “The president has made unbelievable progress in just his first 21 days, bringing back jobs, saving taxpayers money and securing the nation. Reince has successfully led the team that has implemented President Trump’s agenda.”
A senior administration official, who was not authorized to respond publicly to Mr. Ruddy and spoke on the condition of anonymity, questioned the relevance of the news executive’s opinion about Mr. Priebus. “This sounds like somebody with an ax to grind who has no real access to the president,” the official said Sunday evening.
Mr. Ruddy is not one of Mr. Trump’s closest friends and is not in the circle of political advisers that the president has installed in the White House. But he has known Mr. Trump for many years and spoke with him often during the transition period.
After an interview on CNN on Sunday morning, Mr. Ruddy said, Mr. Priebus called him and asked that he “keep an open mind” in the days ahead.
“He gave me a briefing on all the things they are doing to improve and streamline communications,” Mr. Ruddy said, though he declined to give details. “He asked me if I would keep an open mind as they make progress. I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Mr. Ruddy said that he had told Mr. Priebus that he would not take back his criticism. But he said they had agreed to “meet up and have dinner in the near future.”
Despite his prominent role at the White House, Mr. Priebus is not a longtime confidant of the president’s. As chairman of the Republican National Committee, he remained neutral through the primary race and became an enthusiastic backer of Mr. Trump in the general election.
During the transition, Mr. Trump named Mr. Priebus chief of staff, but announced the choice in the same news release in which he named Stephen K. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, as his chief strategist. Mr. Bannon received top billing in the announcement.
Mr. Priebus provided Mr. Trump with a semblance of order as he entered the White House as a first-time elected official, serving as a bridge to the Republican congressional leadership and hiring veteran officials to help the president. But he has faced nearly constant criticism from some of his colleagues and from people outside the West Wing.
Since Inauguration Day, Mr. Trump has moved quickly to issue a series of executive actions and make good on his campaign promises. But the first three weeks of his term have been marred by controversies over the travel ban, his insults of judges and others on Twitter, ethical charges revolving around Trump businesses, and reports of infighting among White House staff members.
Mr. Ruddy declined to say whether he had discussed Mr. Priebus with Mr. Trump on Friday, or whether he thought the president was inclined to make a change.
“It’s really the president’s decision, if he were ever to make that,” Mr. Ruddy said. “It’s his alone. I think you are going to see results in the next 60 days. That’s a critical time.”
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