POTUS’ pointless musical chairs

Two years into Trump administration, instability persists

Donald Trump loves being No. 1, and ordinarily we wouldn’t indulge his proclivity, but even we have to admit he’s achieved something unprecedented in presidential history.

White House churn.

In two years, he’s had no fewer than three dozen high-profile members of his administration depart. Some Trump fired, of course—that’s his thing. Many quit, in disgust or disgrace.

The outbound train for 2018 includes a secretary of state (Rex Tillerson), attorney general (Jeff Sessions), national security adviser (H.R. McMaster), U.N. ambassador (Nikki Haley), EPA administrator (Scott Pruitt), veterans affairs secretary (David Shulkin) … and that doesn’t include holiday traffic. Since Thanksgiving, he’s gotten resignation letters from Chief of Staff John Kelly, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis—the latter’s written with a poison pen.

Understand, we don’t view any of these exiles as heroic, or less complicit than others. They’ve all carried water for a reprehensible president. The “Trump administration” encompasses them, plus all their past and future colleagues.

We’re simply pointing out that as his second year gives way to his third, POTUS grows no closer to stabilizing the upper echelons of his branch of federal government. The exit door surely isn’t closed, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continually criticized and two others in the cabinet, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, reportedly in Trump’s crosshairs.

The president campaigned on a promise he’d have “the best and the brightest” people working for him, for us. When does that start, exactly? If his first hires were “the best and the brightest” out there, who are we getting now?

Turnover is common after midterm elections. We know the history. This amount of turnover, both before and after the midterms, is historic. And not in a good way.