President Donald Trump frequently brags about his record-setting first year in office, although those boasts are generally based on lies. But according to a new analysis, there’s one record the White House can claim without a shadow of a doubt: the number of staffers who’ve gotten the hell out.
According to Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute who tracks presidential staff, the turnover rate among senior level White House staffers was 34% during Trump’s first year in office. That’s the highest rate in 40 years of data available in Dunn-Tenpas’ study and twice the second most-abandoned White House: that of the Ronald Reagan administration, which lost 17% of its senior staff during the administration’s first year.
Among the most notable figures who left or were fired from the Trump administration during its first year in office were:
- National Security Advisor Michael Flynn
- Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
- Press Secretary Sean Spicer
- Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
- Senior Advisor Steve Bannon
- Communications staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman
While some staffing turnover in any administration is inevitable, Dunn-Tenpas was shocked at her findings, telling the Wall Street Journal:
Not only is the percentage double, the seniority of people leaving is extraordinarily high. That’s unprecedented to me. The first year always seems to have some missteps on staffing, often because the skills that worked well running a campaign don’t always align with what it takes to run a government. In this case, it’s a president with no experience in government and people around him who also had no experience. So it’s not surprising that it’s higher than normal, but it’s still surprising it’s this high.
The stated reasons that Trump White House staffers have departed varies from case to case. In some instances, staffers left for a less-stressful, more lucrative position outside of government. Another was unceremoniously fired for allegedly lying to the the vice president and the FBI. And in another case, a longtime Trump loyalist reportedly had to be physically removed from the White House grounds after being dismissed, a charge she denies.
Whatever the reason for the more than one-third turnover rate among Trump’s top lieutenants, we can rest assured that Trump will continue choosing only “the best people” for his administration.