Trump’s White House has seen more turnover in its first year than have the past five administrations. Now in its second year, the Trump administration continues to add to its record number of departures. Nine high-profile staff members have either resigned or been fired since January of 2018. Though some turnover is normal for a White House administration, the sheer numbers of this one are notable.
In recent history, the president with the highest staff turnover in the first year of his presidency was Ronald Reagan, at 17 percent. Donald Trump, at 34 percent, has not only surpassed Reagan’s turnover numbers, he has doubled them. Below is a list of those high-profile Trump administration staff members who have resigned or been fired from the Trump administration, as of April 2, 2018.
- Sally Yates, then acting Attorney General (January 30, 2017)
- Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor (February 13, 2017)
- Angella Reid, Chief Usher (May 5, 2017)
- James Comey, FBI Director (May 9, 2017)
- Mike Dubke, Communications Director (May 18, 2017)
- Walter Shaub, Director of Office of Government Ethics (July 6, 2017)
- Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary (July 21, 2017)
- Michael Short, Senior Assistant Press Secretary (July 25, 2017)
- Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff (July 28, 2017)
- Anthony Scaramucci, Communications Director (July 31, 2017)
- Steve Bannon, Chief Strategist (August 18, 2017)
- Sebastian Gorka, Counterterrorism Adviser (August 25, 2017)
- Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary (September 29, 2017)
- Dina Powell, Deputy National Security Advisor (December 8, 2017)
- Omarosa Manigault Newman, White House Office of Public Liaison (December 13, 2017)
- Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director (January 29, 2018)
- Brenda Fitzgerald, CDC Director (January 31, 2018)
- Rob Porter, White House Staff Secretary (February 7, 2018)
- Gary Cohn, NEC Director (March 6, 2018)
- Rick Dearborn, Deputy Chief of Staff (March 16, 2018)
- Hope Hicks, Communication Director (March 29, 2018)
- Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State (March 31, 2018)
- David Shulkin, Veterans Affairs Secretary (March 28, 2018)
- H.R. McMaster, National Security Adviser (effective April 9, 2018
White House turnover doesn’t just involve the high-profile staff such as those listed above. When senior White House staff members leave, many of those who reported to them leave, too. Consequently, many positions, at many levels, are left to fill.
But what does it take for a member of the Trump administration to survive White House turnover? Axios‘ Jim VandeHei observes the following traits in those who have, so far, been able to avoid being getting caught in the revolving door of White House turnover.
- “You have to really suck up to the boss, particularly on TV.” An example is Vice President Mike Pence, who continually praises Trump, is never critical of him, and never upstages him.
- You should work in an area, such as energy, or the environment, that’s not of great interest to Donald Trump, and keep a low profile.
- You need to be related to Donald Trump. For Trump, “Family is untouchable, even without a proper security clearance.”
- You must be loyal. Not to the presidency, but to Donald Trump.
It’s interesting to speculate on how many actually want to stay much longer at the White House. Continual rumors about more turnover in the near future, does not make for a stable work environment. The high rate of Trump White House turnover chips away at how well remaining staff can perform their jobs in an atmosphere of chaos, and, consequently, how effective they can be at advancing the Trump agenda.
Turnover at the White House, President Trump’s Lead Attorney in the Russia Probe Resigns | Washington Week [2018-03-23]
What Does it Actually Take to Thrive and Survive in the White House? | MSNBC [2018-03-29]