Presumably knowing what was coming, President Trump assured the world Tuesday that he could hire absolutely anyone he wanted to.
“It is a great place to be working,” Trump said of the White House during a news conference with the Swedish prime minister. “Many, many people want every single job. I read where, oh, gee, maybe people don’t want to work for Trump — and, believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing.”
This argument was undercut a few hours later when it was announced that Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, was leaving the White House.
There was no point at which Trump’s statement about working in the White House was more true than when he arrived in January 2017. The incoming president, who once bragged about hiring the best people to work with him, assembled a cadre of key staff members who were sworn in on Jan. 22, 2017. These, it seemed, were the survivors of a Darwinian contest who had proved that they were exceptional choices to fill their assigned positions.
By our analysis, of the 23 people sworn in that day whom we could identify, nine remain or have not planned to leave. (One, Andrew Bremberg, was reported to be planning an exit in November but is still in his position.)
The reasons for the departures vary. Some have been forced out by scandal, including national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and staff secretary Rob Porter. Some have been fired, including Omarosa Manigault and chief of staff Reince Priebus. Others have left because of disagreements with the president, such as Cohn and press secretary Sean Spicer, who left after the hiring of Anthony Scaramucci.
We appear to be in a boom time for departures. Beginning with the resignation of Porter one month ago Wednesday, three others have announced their departures: Reed Cordish, who was leading the president’s technology initiatives; communications director Hope Hicks; and Cohn. That’s the most departures in a one-month period since Trump took office.
And it includes departures only from that core team at the White House sworn in on Jan. 22. It excludes, for example, Josh Raffel, a key communications staff member for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Incidentally, we first compiled this list after the announcement that Hicks planned to leave her position.
“This list will be updated as necessary,” we wrote then. “Hopefully not until at least next week.”
That was last week.