Among staff members in the executive office of the president (not including Cabinet officials), the Trump administration has seen a turnover rate of 78 percent through Sept. 19, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. Because each position on this so-called “A Team” is only counted once, the number would be even higher if it took into account positions that have been vacated multiple times, such as chief of staff (held by Reince Priebus, John Kelly and Mick Mulvaney) and communications director (a post held by Michael Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci, Hope Hicks, Bill Shine and Stephanie Grisham). Overall, 31 percent of Trump’s A Team positions have seen serial turnover during the same period.
“I call it serial turnover, and created a special chart dedicated to multiple occasions when there have been two or more departures within one specific office,” said Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a nonresident senior fellow in governance studies at Brookings and creator of the study. “That’s sort historically unprecedented. I’ve never had to create a chart like that for other administrations because there have never been so many departures within certain offices.”
For historical context, Tenpas told Salon that Trump had reached that 78 percent turnover level within 32 months, while “Ronald Reagan was at 78 percent after four full years in office,” and the other five previous presidents were all below 78 percent for their full terms in office.
Tenpas noted that Trump was at a disadvantage when he began the hiring process because he had a relatively small national campaign staff from which to pull future hires. This was exacerbated by his tendency to rule out otherwise-qualified Republicans who had opposed him during the campaign, thereby further limiting his staffing options.
Trump also avoided hiring people who had worked for the previous Republican president, George W. Bush, which Tenpas said was striking: “If you go back historically, you’ll see that Presidents tend to draw pretty heavily from the prior administration” of the same party. In other words, she continued, “The next Democrat will probably hire a lot of former Obama individuals.”
Tenpas said the negative implications of Trump’s choices have included “a loss of institutional memory” and the fact that government officials haven’t been able to cultivate the personal relationships essential to effectively performing their duties. She added that the intense churn has impeded Trump’s ability to implement his agenda:
“If you don’t have the staff in place, there’s no way, as an individual president, you can accomplish everything given the vast array of responsibilities. You have to rely on staff. If the staff at the senior levels keep turning over, that makes it difficult to implement your campaign promises, your priorities, your agenda, what have you.”
Tenpas also described the apparent nepotism of Trump hiring his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as “undemocratic.” Although some previous presidents have hired relatives for high-ranking positions — for instance, John F. Kennedy famously appointed his brother Robert as attorney general — this seems different.
“The portfolio of Jared is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Tenpas said. “This is an individual with a finance and real estate background who got into the White House and is now negotiating Middle East peace.”
Trump’s decision to block coronavirus aid to hard-hit states will cost 4 million jobs: analysis
Negotiations over the next phase of coronavirus relief have stalled as Trump attempts to circumvent Congress with unworkable and legally dubious executive orders that fall far short of the aid that would be included in any Congressional proposal. Though House Democrats already approved a $3 trillion relief bill including an extension on federal unemployment benefits and $1 trillion in aid to states and cities whose tax revenues evaporated amid coronavirus lockdowns, Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at both provisions.
GOP’s use of Kanye West to help Trump has been a spectacular flop: CNN host
On CNN Saturday, Michael Smerconish examined rapper Kanye West's presidential campaign — and how the GOP efforts to boost it to siphon voters from former Vice President Joe Biden don't appear to be working.
"Is Kanye West serious about running for president or is it all part of a dark twisted fantasy?" said Smerconish. "NPR has documented how several operatives, some with Trump ties, are actively helping the superstar get on general election ballots in various states. Kanye West officially on the ballot in Vermont, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and has filed recently in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Jared Kushner met privately with West in Colorado, where the two par took in a friendly conversation ... the RNC and Trump has denied involvement in West's campaign. but the president isn't exactly discouraging the competition."
Greenland’s ice sheet has melted past the point of no return
Greenland's ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.
Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.
That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland's ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters -- enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.