On the first weekday after President Trump was inaugurated — Monday, Jan. 22, 2017 — Trump joined Vice President Pence and a couple dozen incoming staffers for a White House ceremony swearing in his new team. The staffers raised their right hands and formally committed to serving the 45th president of the United States.
Of the 23 people we know took an oath that day, 14 have resigned, been fired or announced their resignations. The 14th was Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, whose departure was announced Tuesday. A 15th, Andrew Bremberg, Trump’s domestic policy adviser, was reportedly looking to exit several months ago but remains in his position.
What’s more, at least one of those positions has been filled by another person who himself has left his position: National security adviser Michael Flynn’s replacement, H.R. McMaster, left the White House on Friday. Another person, Hope Hicks, transitioned into a job that two others had held before her — and then left the White House in March.
Bear in mind, this was the team that Trump chose at the outset to help him run the White House. This was not Trump having to hustle to fill a job that he suddenly found vacant. This was Trump theoretically handpicking his top choices for these roles. And 61 percent of them have left.
After the secretary of veterans affairs was fired last month, we noted that Trump’s core Cabinet had seen one-quarter of its members depart — far more than past presidents who weren’t replacing presidents who died or resigned.
Bear in mind that this excludes a Cabinet member who would almost certainly have been tossed under any other president. Trump was reportedly considering firing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson following reports of his spending on office furniture. (Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt holds a Cabinet-level position, but it is not generally considered part of the Cabinet itself.)
The Brookings Institution tracks what it calls the president’s “A Team,” a group of administration positions that is broader than those sworn in on Jan. 22, 2017, which excludes Cabinet positions. (It does include Bossert.) Their estimate is that turnover in those 65 positions is at 49 percent since Trump took office. Of those 32 changes, 20 were resignations — six of them voluntary. The other 12 were promoted.
Trump had more “A Team” turnover in his first year than Barack Obama or both Bushes had through two. Through the second years of the last six presidencies, only Ronald Reagan had more turnover in his first two years than Trump, according to Brookings.
But Trump’s second year isn’t over yet.