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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

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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 Justin Clark
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 Lieutenant General (Ret) Keith Kellogg, Jr.
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 The Cypress Group Unknown
2 AP and Staff Secretary Rob Porter U.S. Senate Staff RUP 2/7/2018 Unknown 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 Brooke L. Rollins
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 Gina Haspel
2 DAP and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Justin Clark Trump Campaign Promoted 3/13/2018 Director, White House Office of Public Liaison Douglas Hoelscher
2 Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel CIA Promoted 3/13/2018 CIA Director  Vaughan Bishop
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 Doug Fears
2 DAP and Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination Carlos Diaz-Rosillo Harvard University Promoted 6/19/2018 Senior Deputy Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities Unknown
2 DAP and and Senior Adviser to the Chief of Staff Sean Cairncross RNC Promoted Unknown (nominated for MCC 1/5/18) Millennium Challenge Corp. (if confirmed) Unknown
2 Deputy Director, National Economic Council and International Economic Affairs Everett Eissenstat Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Resigned 7/15/2018 General Motors Unknown
2 AP and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short Trump Campaign Resigned 7/20/2018 Guidepost Strategies and UVA Shahira Knight
2 Counsel to the President Donald McGahn Trump Campaign Resigned 10/17/2018 Unknown Pat Cipollone (pending clearance)
SUMMARY: 38/65 (58%) “A Team” positions have turned over; 14 Resigned Under Pressure; 15 Promoted; 9 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, who resigned February 28th, 2018. On July 5, 2018, Bill Shine was appointed Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications.
Sources: Multiple Internet sites including LinkedIn, 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.

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 Gina Haspel
2 Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Exxon RUP 3/13/2018 Unknown Mike Pompeo
2 Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin U.S. Government (VA) RUP 3/28/2018 Unknown Robert Wilkie
2 Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Oklahoma Attorney General RUP 7/5/2018 Unknown Andrew Wheeler (Acting)
2 U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley South Carolina Governor Resigned 10/9/2018 (effective end of 2018) Unknown Unknown
2 Attorney General Jeff Sessions U.S. Senator RUP 11/7/2018 Unknown Matthew Whitaker (Acting)
Sources: Agency websites and various news sources.


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