There's a reason no previous president embraced personnel anarchy.
It seems that for Trump, Cabinets are made to be broken.
In just over one year, Trump has already lost three Cabinet members. Last week’s unceremonious firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled the latest turnover causality. And there’s no reason to believe Trump is done, as he eyes a Fox News weekend host to become the new head of Veterans Affairs.
By actively shredding any attempt to establish stability, Trump is making chaos history.
“No elected first-term president in the past 100 years has had this much Cabinet turnover this early in his presidency,” NPR reported Monday. “And going back to Ronald Reagan, the churn in top-level staff in the Trump White House is off the charts.”
For its analysis, NPR looked at the first two years of Cabinet departures for presidents going back to Woodrow Wilson.
As the report notes, typically in the first two years of a presidency, the Cabinet focuses on trying to implement a new agenda. Then after the midterm results, some Cabinet members get jettisoned as part of inevitable White House shakeups.
Trump however, is the first president in the modern era to randomly dismantle his Cabinet before the first midterm results are in.
And he sometimes does so for no reason. Last week, Trump offered up no coherent explanation for why he took the radical and virtually unprecedented step of firing his secretary of state.
The constant churning of personnel means the scandal-plagued Trump administration becomes even worse at governing.
Of course, the personnel chaos extends beyond Trump’s Cabinet.
With the recent and sudden departure of Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, nearly half of the president’s top advisers had left or been fired since Inauguration Day. That constitutes 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
Not surprisingly, there’s growing concern of a personnel “death spiral” in the West Wing.
“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,” the Associated Press reported.
That spiral is bound to become steeper in coming weeks.