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True cost of rampant White House turnover: Inexperience breeds incompetence

True cost of rampant White House turnover: Inexperience breeds incompetence
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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE has a staff infection.

The departure of Omarose Manigault Newman is just the latest sign of disorder in the White House. A recent Brookings Institution study shows that there has been more turnover in the Trump administration than there has been in any of other previous five presidential administrations. 

The turnover in Donald Trump's 2016 campaign was a sign of trouble to come. He went through three campaigner managers: Corey Lewdowski, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortNo pardon for Trump Michael Cohen predicts people Trump pardoned may testify against him Roger Stone thanked Trump for pardon during exchange at West Palm Beach club MORE, recently convicted of bank fraud, and Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayPence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Kellyanne Conway condemns violence, supports Trump in statement on Capitol riots Kellyanne Conway calls for violent Capitol protesters to 'just STOP' MORE. The past is prelude to the present in Trump World.

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Round and around, the White House staff goes. Where everybody lands, nobody knows. Three Trump Cabinet-level appointees left their jobs in 2017. No Cabinet member left in the first year in any other of the previous five presidential administrations.

 

Trump’s first secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceFocus on cabinet nominees' effectiveness and expertise, not just ideology Conspicuous by their absence from the Republican Convention Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Chris Christie MORE, crashed and burned for flying first class too often. Trump's original chief of staff, Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusEx-White House officials urge Trump to condemn violence at Capitol Making America dull again Fauci says he has not talked to Biden: He doesn't want to 'put me in a compromised position' MORE, left after losing an internal White House power struggle. John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE entered the administration revolving door and left his job as secretary of Homeland Security to fill the chief of staff vacancy.

Another three Cabinet-level appointees left in 2018 for a grand total of six high-level departures since Trump's inauguration. The president has made his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds Sen. Hawley tramples the 2020 vote in his run to 2024 MORE quite clear. The only reason Sessions survives is that his departure would lead to an uproar about the Justice Department's investigation of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives during the 2016 campaign.

The instability of Trump's A Team of high-level staff appointees has been remarkable. Brookings identified 67 positions in this category and more than half (37) of the original appointees have already left their jobs. This is a much higher burn rate than the turnover in the staff of recent presidential administrations.

Anthony Scaramuchi, we hardly knew ye! The "Mooch" is the classic example of the instability of the Trump regime. In an administration where turnover is as common as "lock her up chats" at a Make America Great Again rally, Donald Trump's second of three communication directors won the exit door prize with an 11-day tenure. 

According to Brookings, 14 of the 37 departed staffers resigned under pressure. The high burn rate is due to two factors.

Trump grew disenchanted quickly with some of the people in his administration. Trump famously said he would "surround myself only with the best and most serious people." The turnover suggests otherwise. 

Every week is shark week in the Trump White House. The internal bloodletting in there is vicious; even by Washington standards. Priebus was the victim of a three headed power struggle between he, alt right avatar Stephen Bannon (no relation) and the power couple, Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerSecret Service renting K a month apartment because Ivanka and Jared won't let them use their bathrooms: report Is the Saudi 'city of the future' overly ambitious? Kushner stopped Trump from joining Parler, Gab after Twitter ban: report MORE. Reince was the odd man out in this meange a trois and Bannon was pushed out soon after Priebus got his walking papers.

Why is so much turnover so dangerous? Because we have a president without government experience and a revolving cast of top administration officials who aren't around long enough to get their bearings and to learn their jobs. Inexperience breeds incompetence. 

The world is a dangerous case and it's no time for a game of musical chairs in the White House. Trump's performance in the international area has been shaky at best. The administration's failures in foreign policy have hardly been surprising given the high turnover in the key players. The first national security adviser, Michael Flynn was an early casualty. Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson: 'We squandered the best opportunity we had on North Korea' State Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies Lawmakers express concern about lack of young people in federal workforce MORE barely lasted a year and his replacement, Mike PompeoMike PompeoVoice of America journalists demand director's resignation over Pompeo event UN officials: Houthis terror designation is 'death sentence' for Yemen civilians The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE had to give up his job as CIA director. 

Perhaps the worst thing about the Trump presidency is its seeming incompetence. The best indication of Trump's failure is his inability to work with a Congress controlled by his own party. Presidents often have problems with Congress. But presidents whose party controls both houses of Congress can generally get the denizens of Capitol Hill to do his bidding.

Despite GOP control of the White House and both houses of Congress, only one major Trump initiative, his tax cut program has survived the gauntlet on Capitol Hill. President Obama was able to use Democratic control of Congress to get two controversial bills, ObamaCare and the American Jobs Act passed into law in his first year in office. 

If Trump fails to get his own White House in order, the next Democratic president will do it for him in 2021.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. (There is no relation to former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon). He is also a senior adviser to, and editor of, the blog at MyTiller.com, a social media network for politics. Contact him at brad@bannoncr.com