The nonstop chaos in President Donald Trump’s White House has contributed to his administration’s erratic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by Brookings Institution senior fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas.
In an interview with Politico, Tenpas calls the turnover at the Trump White House “extraordinary,” and she singles out the fact that Trump cycled through 11 different officials whose duties included containing pandemics.
“Trump’s top officials — influential roles in the executive office of the president — have had a turnover rate of 86 percent since Trump took office,” Politico writes. “One of the key pandemic jobs, the deputy national security adviser, has been held by six separate Trump officials in less than three years, according to Tenpas’s research.”
A former Trump administration official tells Politico that the constant turnover harms institutional memory and makes it harder to get the machinery of government moving during a crisis.
“You have people learning as they go and a loss of institutional memory and history,” the official explained. “What it means is that staff, processes and particular councils and legislative affairs efforts are likely to be less important and less influential. The president does it himself in an ad hoc manner. The staff turnover just exacerbates that phenomenon.”