A third of Trump's White House staff left last year

An analysis found that Trump’s staff turnover in the White House is higher than the last five presidents

By Nicole Karlis

Senior Writer

Published February 13, 2018 2:48PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Donald Trump, who was famous for his “firings” on “The Apprentice” will likely also be remembered for his White House staff dismissals, too. Brookings Institute found in an analysis that Trump’s staff turnover in his first year of presidency was significantly higher than the last five presidents.

From Sean Spicer to Anthony Scaramucci to Michael Flynn, and all of those who have fallen in between, it’s been no secret that retainment has been a problem at the White House. To put it in perspective though, Trump’s “A” team turnover was at 34 percent in his first year of presidency. During Barack Obama’s first year, his “A” team turnover was at 9 percent; Bill Clinton’s was at 11 percent; George H.W. Bush’s was 7 percent, and Ronald Reagan’s was 17 percent.

“The numbers make clear that Trump’s 'A' Team turnover is record-setting—double the previous leader (Reagan), and more than triple his immediate predecessor (Obama),” Brookings explained.

The study pointed to four offices that saw the most disruption during the first year of the Trump administration: the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications, the Press Office, and the National Security Council. Trump's key decision makers have also seen extremely high turnover.

Per the study:

Six of the 12 Tier One positions saw turnover (Reince Priebus, chief of staff; Katie Walsh, deputy chief of staff; Sean Spicer, press secretary; George Sifakis, assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Liaison; Michael Flynn, national security adviser, and KT McFarland, deputy national security adviser). By comparison, Obama lost one adviser from Tier One (Greg Craig, White House counsel), and George W. Bush did not see any turnover in these high-level positions.

What has been the cause of so much turnover? According to the analysis, Trump’s “focus on loyalty over qualifications,” is one factor to blame. So is “the borderline chaos” that characterized the first year.

While this record-breaking staff disruption is one of the many parts of Trump’s presidency to be concerned about, the analysis implies that this could be a positive event for Democrats — especially when it comes to the Trump administration’s quest to achieve policy goals.

“In presidential politics, much like any business environment, the coin of the realm is personal relationships — ties to the Hill, party leaders, interest group leaders, advocacy organizations, and journalists are critical to presidential success,” the analysis said. “ While a replacement may be able to reclaim those relationships, or at least some of them, to the degree the relationships cannot be replaced, too much turnover can be a hindrance for a new administration and its pursuit of policy goals.”

By Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon, specializing in health and science. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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Anthony Scaramucci Donald Trump Staff Donald Trump White House Michael Flynn Sean Spicer