Trump Staff Turnover Hits 34%—a First Year Presidential Record
Maybe the White House should install a revolving door.
In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the White House has seen more turnover than any previous administration, according to Kathryn Dunn-Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has tracked White House turnover rates for more than three decades.
In 2017, 34% of President Trump’s staff was either been fired, resigned, or reassigned. Trump’s first year turnover rate is exactly double that of Reagan’s 17% in 1981, which is the next highest in the past 40 years.
That number also dwarfs that of the previous three presidents: Obama’s first year turnover was 9%, while Bush’s was 6%, and Clinton’s 11%. Nevertheless, the study does not compare the size in number of each president’s staff, meaning that the absolute numbers may not be quite so dramatic.
Dunn-Tenpas told The Wall Street Journal that not only is the Trump administration percentage “unprecedented,” but “the seniority of people leaving is extraordinarily high.” In particular, she highlighted that while first years tend to have some “missteps on staffing,” in this case, “it’s a president with no experience in government and people around him who also had no experience.”
And, since history has a tendency to repeat itself, Trump’s year two turnover will likely jump even higher. Dunn-Tenpas’ research shows that Reagan’s turnover jumped to 40% in 1982, while Bush and Clinton’s second year turnovers both increased to 27%.
With more departures already announced for early next year, Trump may be well on his way to beating his own record.