BY NUHA ISLAM
The swapping out of high-level administrators like Pokémon cards is alarming. After all, our government should possess less novelty than a child’s card game. However, in the year since the Trump administration has been in office, over a third of its staff has jumped ship or been forced to walk the plank.
“After two full years, President Obama was at 24 percent and President Bush was at 33 percent,” Brookings Institution and White House Transition Project researcher Kathryn Dunn Tenpas said. “So, [Trump] already passed them with his first-year turnover. It continues to surge.”
So why is the White House hiring and firing workers so rapidly? There are multiple things to account for. Firstly, what makes a good campaign worker is not the same as what makes a good administrator.
“Every new president loses top staff during the administration’s first year in office,” Dunn Tepas said. “Political scientists have long noted that the skills needed to campaign are strikingly different from those needed to govern.”
This is compounded by the fact Donald Trump does not have a prior political background, limiting his ability to select adequate administrators.
Business Insider researcher Michal Kranz stated that while previous U.S. presidents had relied on expertise and professional qualifications when deciding who to appoint to crucial White House posts, Trump has valued personal loyalty to him and his election campaign as a primary deciding factor.
Additionally, those who accept White House positions are typically well aware of the long hours and the high levels of stress. But Trump staffers are from a narrow pool of those who unequivocally supported Trump during the election, accepting the then candidate’s claims in stride. They are now ill-equipped to handle Congress not giving Trump the green light on all policy.
Because Trump sourced many of his top staffers from his own business circle and support base, many individuals in his White House have lacked the qualifications to do their jobs. This leads to lackluster performances and the desire among many former staffers to use their brief tenures in the administration to seek private sector jobs afterward.
The investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller has also furthered tensions within the White House walls. Allegations of possible ties to Russia have required the senior staff members to hire outside counsel and prepare for intensive interviews.
Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks announced her resignation this February, a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee, admitting to telling white lies in the course of her duties. Hicks has been a close aide of Trump since the beginning of his presidential campaign.
The difficulty of governing amid an ongoing special counsel investigation as well as hiring unqualified advisers has led the White House into a place of disarray. In the coming months, more bureaucrats will find themselves without a job.
“Lack of communication between officials on key speeches and policy points like the new steel tariffs reveal that coordination between officials within the White House is remarkably weak,” Kranz said. “Leading to mistakes and a poor public image that incentivizes Trump to get rid of those at fault.”
In the end, the efficiency of American government will suffer.
Photo by The Lariat photography