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 John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown 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 ManafortDem warns Trump: 'Obstruction of justice' to fire Rosenstein Ex-White House official revises statement to Mueller after Flynn guilty plea: report Former White House lawyer sought to pay Manafort, Gates legal fees: report MORE, recently convicted of bank fraud, and Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayConway: Kavanaugh shouldn’t have to ‘bear decades of the "Me Too" movement’ Trump Jr. to Dem Senator: 'You admitted to hitting your wife so hard it gave her a black eye!' Conway to CNN's Cuomo in heated debate: 'I'll walk away' if you continue to interrupt me 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 PriceWhite House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Overnight Health Care: CBO finds bill delaying parts of ObamaCare costs B | Drug CEO defends 400 percent price hike | HHS declares health emergency ahead of hurricane HHS should look into Azar's close ties to the drug industry MORE, crashed and burned for flying first class too often. Trump's original chief of staff, Reince PriebusReinhold (Reince) Richard PriebusBannon says right must support ‘RINOs’ CNN: Trump searching for Woodward sources in White House Woodward book rocks Trump White House 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 faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 13 states accepted Sessions invitation to meeting on social media bias: report 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 KushnerHouse panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil 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 TillersonSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story MORE barely lasted a year and his replacement, Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUN condemns Iran military parade attack President strikes softer tone on North Korea at United Nations Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump returns to UN praising Kim | Iran in crosshairs later this week | US warns Russia on missile defense in Syria 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