In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's management style.
More than a year into his administration, President Trump is presiding over a staff in turmoil, one with a 34 percent turnover rate, higher than any White House in decades. He has struggled to fill openings, unwilling to hire Republicans he considers disloyal and unable to entice Republicans who consider him unstable. Those who do come to work for him often do not last long, burning out from a volatile, sometimes cutthroat environment exacerbated by tweets and subpoenas.
To visit the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the granite, slate and cast iron edifice across West Executive Avenue from the White House where most of the president’s staff works, at times feels like walking through a ghost town. The hallways do not bustle as much as in past administrations. The budget director is doing double duty as the acting head of the consumer protection agency. The personnel director is doing triple duty, also overseeing the offices of political affairs and public liaison.
“We have vacancies on top of vacancies,” said Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied White House turnover over the last six administrations. “You have initial vacancies, you have people who left in the first year and now you have people who are leaving in the second year.”
According to a report by Ms. Tenpas, Mr. Trump’s 34 percent turnover rate in his first year is more than three times as high as President Barack Obama’s in the same period and twice as high as President Ronald Reagan’s, which until now was the modern record-holder. Of 12 positions deemed most central to the president, only five are still filled by the same person as when Mr. Trump took office.
Beyond those leaving, many positions have never been filled nearly 13 months after the inauguration. Some of those vacancies stem from the glacial pace of background investigations and the Senate confirmation process, which has grown worse with each successive president. But in many cases, the Trump administration has still not identified candidates.
According to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that tracks appointments along with The Washington Post, the Trump administration has made the fewest nominations, not counting those that have failed, and has had the fewest confirmed by this point of any of the last five administrations. At the State Department, nominees have yet to be made for three under secretary positions and 10 assistant secretary positions, senior-level jobs that have traditionally been crucial to managing foreign policyThere are consequences. David Nakamura at WP:
More than a year into Trump’s administration, the president has yet to nominate an ambassador to Seoul. Last week, The Washington Post reported that the White House had dropped Trump’s original choice, Victor D. Cha, a former George W. Bush administration official, for undisclosed reasons — and without informing the South Koreans.Normally, an ambassador would help a VP prep for a visit.
Yet the small indignities continued to pile up, even as Pence arrived in Seoul. As the vice president disembarked Air Force Two, his aides told reporters that he would be greeted by Ahn Ho-young, whom they described as the South Korean ambassador to Washington.
Only hours later, after Pence arrived at his hotel for the evening, did his office issue a correction. The man who greeted the vice president was Cho Yoon-je, who had replaced Ahn in November