The circumstances around Rob Porter's resignation have ushered in another wave of questions about staffing practices in the White House. Internal dissatisfaction with chief of staff John Kelly's leadership appears to be growing.
Writing in the New York Times on Monday, Peter Baker highlighted the Trump White House's staggering turnover rate. "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," Baker reported. "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."
There are two points to consider here, with the first being how early we are in Trump's presidency, and the second being how small the pool of potential White House staffers qualified and capable of doing the job is.
Friend texts pointing out that people were spiked from WH jobs after background check revealed 1 anti-Trump tweet while credibly accused wife beater soared up the org chart. Gives a good sense of priorities.— Tim Miller (@Timodc) February 9, 2018
Baker's story reminded me of a thought GOP strategist Tim Miller posted to Twitter last week, wherein he highlighted the White House's alleged practice of not hiring candidates who've posted one anti-Trump tweet. This is consistent with Baker's reporting that Trump is "unwilling to hire Republicans he considers disloyal and unable to entice Republicans who consider him unstable." Under normal circumstances, that would be somewhat understandable. But conservative operatives in Washington and elsewhere remain divided over Trump, so to eliminate interested applicants based on their previous sentiments about the president (though an exception appears to have been made for deputy press secretary Raj Shah), and then burn through staff at an unusually high rate, is going make the White House's ability to hire qualified staffers progressively more difficult. Again, we're in the first year of this presidency.
If most people who ever sent a critical tweet about the president or have questioned his leadership (bearing in mind he was one person in a strong field of more than a dozen primary candidates just three years ago) are able to work in a White House with a turnover rate this high, as time goes by, who will be left to fill the vacancies?