Donald Trump Is the First President to Lose a Third of His Staff in Year 1

Unless Donald Trump suddenly decides to fire the entire Oval Office—and you never know, do you?—he’ll end his first year with a turnover rate among senior staff of 34 percent. That’s really high!

The red bars are from Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies presidential transitions. The shaded bars are also from Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas—sort of. I took the numbers from this paper, and then reduced them by a third so they matched up for both Reagan and Clinton, the only two presidents in both datasets. Is this kosher? Of course not. Nobody tell her I did this. But it probably provides a rough historical lens to view this through.

Anyway, there are no surprises here. Trump has been firing and otherwise losing his senior staff at an astounding clip: about 3-4 times the rate of his predecessors, and double the rate of the previous record holder, Ronald Reagan. I guess he didn’t know how to hire the best people after all.

It’s also worth noting how Trump has been refilling the swamp. His initial staff was top-heavy with outsiders who were raring to turn Washington DC inside-out. But nearly all of them are gone, replaced by standard-issue Republican swamp dwellers. Gaze into the swamp too long, and it turns out the swamp stares back.


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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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