Team Trump lowered the bar for working at the White House — and they still can't find people.
More than a year and a half into his term, the Trump White House still can't find qualified people who want to work under him.
Already anxious to dismantle a large portion of the federal government by leaving thousands of vacancies unfilled, Trump in turn can't attract top-flight candidates. And to battle the personnel drought, the White House is cutting all kinds of corners.
When it vetted candidates, the Obama team used a questionnaire with 63 queries about employment, finances, writings, and social media posts. "The Trump team cut the number of questions to twenty-five, by dropping the requests for professional references and tax returns and removing items concerning loans, personal income, and real-estate holdings," The New Yorker reports. "The questionnaire was speckled with typos, and seemed carelessly put together."
And yet, the massive shortages persist. One reason is because the Trump team has blackballed a whole portion of would-be GOP employees because they expressed opposition to Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Elliott Abrams, a foreign affairs official under George W. Bush, says he's been asked to recommend people for positions, but inevitably they're blocked because they fail the loyalty test.
"I’ve come up with the perfect person, and the people I’m talking to at State or Defense say, ‘Oh, my God, she’s great. But she didn’t sign one of the letters, did she?’ ‘Yeah, she did.’ ‘O.K., we’re done here,'" says Abrams.
The New Yorker also details how key, long-serving government officials have been purged from their positions for purely political reasons.
This is all part of Trump's attempt to undermine the federal government and make sure it doesn't function as intended.
He's done that by refusing to fill hundreds of vacancies, dismantling his year-old cabinet at random, watching a historic number of advisers abandon the White House, and tapping people who are largely unqualified to then watch their nominations get scuttled.
Just last month, Dr. Ronny Jackson, who withdrew his nomination to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, became at least the 23rd Trump nominee who failed to be confirmed or never even made it through the confirmation process, according to a tally from NBC News.
Not surprisingly, Trump’s White House Presidential Personnel Office, which is tasked with filling thousands of government jobs, has been described as a juvenile wasteland, where young staffers hang out vaping and playing drinking games.
There's a reason qualified people are staying away from the Trump administration.