Trump admin turnover is startling compared to 5 past presidents: report

Donald Trump smiles at the conclusion of his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Hope Hicks bid goodbye to the White House on her final day in U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek.

The Trump administration has seen record turnover rates compared to recent previous presidents. Data collected by the nonprofit public policy organization Brookings estimates that the Trump administration has seen a turnover rate for senior staff of 48 per cent so far. Beyond executive roles, six Cabinet members have already been shown the door.

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The former communications director departed the administration on her own terms and was given a gracious goodbye by Trump outside the Oval Office in view of reporters. However, not all departures were given quite the sendoff.

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That stands in stark contrast to the White House treatment of former Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin, who was fired amid ethics questions and replaced by a White House physician who has no experience running a bureaucracy or working with veterans.

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The Thursday exit of the president’s most trusted aide highlights continuing uncertainty among Trump aides and White House staff about who might be the next to go.

Executive Roles

According to data from the Associated Press, there have been 20 notable firings since Trump took office in January 2017. According to Brookings, out of 65 executive office roles, the number of positions that have seen some form of turnover (a role change, a resignation, a promotion, or more than one change, etc.) since Trump took office is up to 31.

This surpasses the Obama administration, which saw a nine per cent turnover rate in its 53 executive office positions in its first year, and a total turnover rate of 71 per cent for these roles by the end of the fourth year of his first term.

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This trend continues for the four presidents that held office before former President Barack Obama. George W. Bush’s executive staff saw a turnover rate of six per cent in his first year in office, capping off his first term with a total turnover rate of 63 per cent. Bill Clinton finished his first year with an 11 per cent turnover rate among executive staff, while George H. W. Bush was at seven per cent and Ronald Reagan at 17 per cent for their first years in office.

Cabinet Members

Furthermore, the Cabinet has also seen a higher turnover than in previous administrations. Six cabinet members, notably Reince Priebus and Rex Tillerson, have resigned or have been let go. In each of the three previous administrations (Obama, Bush, Clinton), no cabinet positions were shuffled in the first year.

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By the end of his term, Clinton had the highest cabinet turnover rate of the most recent four administrations with 12 cabinet positions replaced.

How many of these people were actually fired?

While some of Trump’s former staffers were fired, many more independently resigned, which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who resigned under pressure from the president. Staffers that were clearly let go include former FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, Trump’s former personal aide John McEntee, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

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However, for several staffers – including brief Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer – their resignation seemed to come amid internal pressure.

-With files from the Associated Press. 

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