The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources tracks turnover among senior-ranking advisers in the executive office of the president (which does not include Cabinet secretaries), whereas the second set of resources tracks turnover in the Cabinet.
Turnover on the president’s “A Team”
The following chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president. This data is compiled and tracked by Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, who refers to this group of advisers as the president’s “A Team.” The list of positions that make up the “A Team” is based on National Journal “Decision Makers” editions, and Dunn Tenpas’s methodology is described in detail in a report she published in January 2018. The chart and table below will be updated as additional members of the “A Team” depart their positions. It is important to note the following:
- Because the “A Team” is made up of members of the executive office of the president, it does not include Cabinet secretaries.
- The count for Donald Trump’s “Year 2” is ongoing.
- Each position on the “A Team” is only counted once. If multiple people hold and depart from the same position (e.g., communications director), only the initial departure is tracked/affects the turnover rate.
Summary and analysis of “A Team” turnover in the Trump administration
Set out below is a list of the senior level departures from the executive office of the president since the beginning of the Trump administration (each of the 65 “A Team” positions is only counted once toward the turnover rate, thus, this chart only includes the first person to hold/depart a given position).
|Year||Position||Name||Prior Job||Nature of departure*||Date of departure announcement||Where to?||Successor|
|1||Senior Director for Africa, NSC||Robin Townley||Marines||Resigned Under Pressure (RUP)||2/10/2017||Sonoran Policy Group (lobbying and consulting)||Cyril Sartor|
|1||Chief of Staff and Executive Sec’y, NSC||Keith Kellogg||Cubic Defense||Promoted||2/13/2017||Acting National Security Advisor||H.R. McMaster|
|1||National Security Adviser||Michael Flynn||Trump Campaign||RUP||2/13/2017||Unknown||H.R. McMaster|
|1||Deputy Chief of Staff||Katie Walsh||RNC||RUP||3/30/2017||America First Policies then RNC (7/21/17)||Kirsten Nielsen|
|1||Deputy National Security Adviser||KT McFarland||TV analyst||Promoted||5/19/2017||Ambassadorial nomination withdrew/unknown||Dina Powell|
|1||Assistant to the President (AP) and Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives||Dina Powell||Goldman Sachs||Promoted||5/19/2017||Deputy National Security Advisor||Unknown|
|1||AP and Communications Director||Michael Dubke||Black Rock Group||RUP||5/29/2017||Georgetown University lecturer, Black Rock Group||Scaramucci**|
|1||Press Secretary||Sean Spicer||RNC||RUP||7/21/2017||Worldwide Speakers Group||Sarah H. Sanders|
|1||Deputy Press Secretary||Sarah H. Sanders||Trump Campaign||Promoted||7/21/2017||Press Secretary||Raj Shah|
|1||AP and Chief of Staff to the VP||Josh Pitcock||Capitol Hill||Resigned||7/28/2017||Oracle||Nick Ayers|
|1||Chief of Staff||Reince Priebus||RNC||RUP||7/31/2017||Law firm||John Kelly|
|1||AP and Director Public Liaison||George Sifakis||Gov’t Relations||RUP||7/31/2017||Ideagen||DeStefano (informally)|
|1||Senior Intelligence Director, NSC||Ezra Cohen-Watnick||U.S. Government (DIA)||RUP||8/2/2017||Oracle||Mike Barry|
|1||AP and Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President||Steve Bannon||Media||RUP||8/18/2017||Breitbart News/fired 1/9/18||Unknown|
|1||Deputy AP and Director of Presidential Advance||George Gigicos||Consulting||RUP||8/22/2017||Consulting||Robert L. Peede|
|1||National Security Adviser for VP||Andrea Thompson||House Homeland Security Committee (Michael McCaul R-TX)||Promoted||9/11/2017||Special Advisor in the Office of Policy Planning, U.S. State Department||Joan O’Hara|
|1||AP and Director of Strategic Communications||Hope Hicks||Trump Organization||Promoted||9/12/2017||Communications Director**||Mercedes Schlapp|
|1||DAP and Deputy Communications Director and Research Director||Raj Shah||RNC||Promoted||9/12/2017||Principal Deputy Press Secretary||Unknown|
|1||Deputy AP and Director Oval Office Operations||Keith Schiller||Trump Organization||RUP||9/20/2017||Private Security Consulting||Jordan Karem|
|1||Deptuy AP and Deputy White House Counsel||Greg Katsas||Law Firm||Resigned||11/28/2017||federal judge, DC Circuit||Uttam Dhillon|
|1||AP and Director of Communications, Office of Public Liaison||Omarosa Manigault||Reality Television||RUP||12/13/2017||Celebrity Big Brother||Unknown|
|1||Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Director of Budget Policy||Paul Winfree||Heritage Foundation||Resigned||12/15/2017||Heritage Foundation||Lance Leggitt|
|2||AP and Deputy Chief of Staff||Rick Dearborn||U.S. Senate staff||Resigned||12/23/17 resignation announced, departed 3/13/2018||Unknown||Unknown|
|2||AP and Staff Secretary||Rob Porter||U.S. Senate Staff||RUP||2/7/2018||Unknown||Interim, Derek Lyons, Deputy Staff Secretary|
|2||Senior Director of Legislative Affairs, NSC||Daniel Greenwood||Marines||Promoted||2/9/2018||Lateral move to Deputy AP and Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs||Unknown|
|2||AP and Director of Presidential Personnel||John DeStefano||U.S. House of Representatives Staff||Promoted||2/9/2018||AP and Counsel to the President overseeing Public Liaison, Personnel and Political Affairs||N/A|
|2||AP for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives||Reed Cordish||Real Estate||Resigned||2/16/2018||Unknown||Unknown|
|2||AP and Director of the National Economic Council||Gary Cohn||Goldman Sachs||Resigned||3/6/2018||Unknown||Larry Kudlow|
|2||CIA Director||Mike Pompeo||Member, House of Representatives (R-KS)||Promoted||3/13/2018||Secretary of State (pending confirmation)||Gina Haspel (pending confirmation)|
|2||Deputy CIA Director||Gina Haspel||CIA||Promoted||3/13/2018||CIA Director (pending confirmation)||Unknown|
|2||AP and Director for Strategic Initiatives||Chris Liddell||WME/IMG||Promoted||3/19/2018||Deputy Chief of Staff||Unknown|
|2||AP for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism||Thomas Bossert||Atlantic Council||RUP||4/10/2018||Unknown||Rob Joyce (acting)|
|SUMMARY: 32/65 (49%) “A Team” positions have turned over; 14 Resigned Under Pressure; 12 Promoted; 6 Resigned|
|*Author’s Note: The departure status was difficult to determine in some cases because media reports were often at odds with an individual’s claim that they were resigning. In the end, I decided to create the category “resigned under pressure,” which I believe captures the general sentiment at the time of their departure.|
|**Anthony Scaramucci was Communications Director for 11 days. He was succeeded by Hope Hicks. She resigned February 28th and we are awaiting the announcement of a successor as of March 15, 2018.|
|Sources: Multiple Internet sites including LinkedIn, WhiteHouse.gov and numerous news sites.|
Turnover in the president’s cabinet
The chart and table below, compiled by Brookings Senior Fellow Elaine Kamarck and Nicholas Zeppos, are dedicated to tracking turnover in the Cabinet. They will also be updated as additional turnover occurs. Unlike the trackers above dedicated to the president’s “A Team,” these resources look at every departure from the president’s cabinet, even if multiple people have occupied that position.
Summary and analysis of Cabinet departures in the Trump administration
Set out below is a list of departures from the president’s Cabinet since the beginning of the Trump administration.
2Secretary of Veterans AffairsDavid ShulkinU.S. Government (VA)RUP3/28/2018UnknownRonny Jackson
|Year||Position||Name||Prior Job||Nature of Departure||Date of Departure Announcement||Where to?||Successor|
|1||Secretary of Homeland Security||John F. Kelly||U.S. Marine Corps||Promoted||7/28/2017||White House Chief of Staff||Kristjen Nielsen|
|1||Chief of Staff||Reince Priebus||RNC||Resigned Under Pressure (RUP)||7/28/2017||Michael Best and Friedrich LLP (Lobbying)||John F. Kelly|
|1||Secretary of Health and Human Services||Tom Price||Member of the House||RUP||9/29/2017||Jackson Healthcare||Alex Azar|
|2||CIA Director||Mike Pompeo||Member of the House||Promoted||3/13/2018||Secretary of State (pending confirmation)||Gina Haspel|
|2||Secretary of State||Rex Tillerson||Exxon||RUP||3/13/2018||Unknown||Mike Pompeo|
|Sources: Agency websites and various news sources.|