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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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