Even in our rapidly changing and fast-paced 24-hour news cycle, President Donald Trump and his administration manage to dominate the news headlines of every news network, website and printed publication. Scarcely a day goes by where this presidency has not been plagued by inflammatory remarks, scandals or the exit of a top aide.
Indeed, a January report by the Brookings Institution called the turnover rate of key White House officials under the Trump administration “record-setting.” The report details that these rates are already three times greater than those under Obama and double that of the Reagan administration, which had previously held the record.
It is astounding that America’s president, the “leader of the free world,” cannot retain key staff members.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe became the most recent addition to a long line of ex-staffers when he was fired on March 16. McCabe, who had worked for the FBI for over 20 years, had planned to retire on March 18, at which point he would have been eligible to receive retirement benefits for his service.
On March 13, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired. Tillerson, who had been traveling Africa on official business, reportedly found out about his own dismissal by viewing a tweet in which Trump named CIA Director Mike Pompeo the new Secretary. Later that day, Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Steve Goldstein, who worked for Tillerson, was also fired.
Gary Cohn became another casualty of the Trump administration on Mar. 6. Reportedly vexed by Trump’s proposed tariff increases on imported steel and aluminum, Cohn announced his intentions to resign.
On Feb. 28, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks announced her intentions to resign. Hicks had been one of Trump’s longest serving aides. In a White House of revolving doors, Hope Hicks was trusted. She appeared to be someone who served as Trump’s interpreter spoke the President’s language.
Then, on Feb. 27, Hicks testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election. During her eight hour interview, Hicks admitted to telling white lies for the Trump administration but asserted that she never told falsehoods regarding the ongoing inquiry into Russian interference. The next day, she reported plans to resign.
Hicks’ announcement came on the heels of former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s resignation on Feb. 7. In early February, two of Porter’s ex-wives spoke publicly about Porter allegedly abusing them. The White House continued to support Porter after the news broke. Chief of Staff John Kelly called Porter “a man of true integrity” on Feb. 6, and stated that he was “proud to serve alongside [Porter].”
Cohn, Hicks and Porter are only three of the most recent top White House aides to leave their positions.
Notable departures in 2017 include former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey on May 9, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer on July 21, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus on July 28 and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon on Aug. 18
The list of resignations and firings goes on an on: former Attorney General Sally Yates on Jan. 30, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Feb. 13, former Communications Director Mike Dubke on May 30, former National Security Advisor Derek Harvey on July 28, former Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci on July 31 (after just 10 days in office), former Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka on Aug. 25 and former Secretary of Health Tom Price on Sept. 29.
Late night comics have compared the White House to an episode of CBS’ “Survivor,” where you never know who will be “voted off the island” on any given week. This mass exodus of government employees coupled with so many vacant key positions in the administration is alarming. Donald Trump needs to remember that this is not “Survivor.” This is not “The Celebrity Apprentice.” This is the United States. 327 million people’s lives hang in the balance as the entire world watches.