Remaining White House staff fear "death spiral" as top advisers continue to flee.
The unending brain drain from the Trump White has reached historic proportions barely one year into the Republican’s term. No end is in sight, and White House insiders now fear a “death spiral” for Trump’s remaining team.
With the sudden departure of Gary Cohn, Trump top economic adviser, nearly half of the president’s top advisers have left or been fired since Inauguration Day. That’s a stunning turnover rate that shatters all previous modern-day records.
To date, 43 percent of Trump’s top advisers have left their positions, according to figures compiled by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas of the Brookings Institution.
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) March 7, 2018
Cohn’s exit comes after Trump announced radical trade tariffs that Cohn, a free-trade advocate, adamantly opposes.
Not only does Cohn’s departure mean that Trump will be advised on trade almost exclusively by protectionist zealots who are completely out of step with Wall Street’s view of economics — it also means Trump’s already depleted staff takes another hit.
According to one White House official, there’s growing concern of a personnel “death spiral” in the West Wing, the Associated Press reported. “Trump’s mercurial decision-making practices, fears of being drawn into special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and a stalled legislative agenda are keeping top-flight talent on the outside.”
Indeed, those who have worked in the White House and have already left are reportedly finding a chilly reception from potential employees. Not only are some private companies not impressed with Trump White House job descriptions on resumes today, but they see it as a demerit.
“Everyone is saying it’s a shitshow, that’s why they’re looking to leave early,” one Beltway hiring source told The Hill last month. “Normally you would want to serve the first term at least or the first half of the term. What I’m trying to figure out is, how toxic are some of these people?”
Note that back in January it was reported so many White House staffers were queuing up to leave this year that chief of staff John Kelly reportedly tried to get a head count on how many were exiting so he could stagger the departures in hopes of making the exodus not look so bad.
But that strategy has completely failed in recent weeks.
From the New York Times:
A host of top aides have been streaming out the White House door or are considering a departure. Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary and a member of the inner circle, resigned after spousal abuse allegations. Hope Hicks, the president’s communications director and confidante, announced she would leave soon. In recent days, the president has lost a speechwriter, an associate attorney general and the North Korea negotiator.
The Times notes that Cohn’s departure is perhaps the most significant this year because he’s among most senior advisers to walk out on Trump in 2018.
But given the number of people fleeing the White House, Cohn certainly won’t be the last.