Here are 35(!) senior officials who have left the Trump administration so far

Here's President Donald Trump on Tuesday seeking to beat back criticism that his White House is in crisis amid a seri...

Posted: Mar 9, 2018 2:41 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2018 2:41 PM

Here's President Donald Trump on Tuesday seeking to beat back criticism that his White House is in crisis amid a series of high-profile staff departures:

"Many, many people want every single job. You know, I read where, 'Oh, gee, maybe people don't want to work for Trump.' And believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office; they want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their r-sum-; it's just a great place to work."

Trump's insistence that the White House is "a great place to work" seems to be belied by the fact that so many senior aides have either resigned or been fired over just the first year of this presidency.

This list, compiled with an assist from Brenna Williams and CNN's White House reporters, contains almost three dozen people who were hired or nominated by Trump or were advisers to him and left between January 20 and today. Each name is linked to a story about their departure -- if you want to go deeper.

(One note: This would be an even longer list if it included people like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Preet Bharara -- all holdovers from a past administration who have left or been fired by Trump.)

Michael Flynn Katie Walsh K.T. McFarland Michael Dubke Sean Spicer Michael Short Tera Dahl Mark Corallo Reince Priebus Anthony Scaramucci Derek Harvey George Sifakis Ezra Cohen-Watnick Carl Icahn Steve Bannon Sebastian Gorka Rich Higgins William Bradford Keith Schiller Tom Price Jamie Johnson John Feeley Rick Dearborn Jeremy Katz Carl Higbie Dina Powell Omarosa Manigault Newman Taylor Weyeneth Rob Porter David Sorensen Brenda Fitzgerald Rachel Brand Hope Hicks Josh Raffel Gary Cohn

"This is an intense place," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at her daily press briefing on Wednesday. "It's not abnormal that you would have people come and go."

Except that it is extremely abnormal, if you look at history. According to calculations made by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas at Brookings, there has been a 43% attrition rate among senior staffers within the Trump administration. That's massively higher than any recent past president; Bill Clinton had the second highest first-year turnover, with 11%.

"In looking at why Trump has experienced such high turnover," writes Tenpas, "I argue he has valued loyalty over qualifications and suffered from a White House that has functioned in a chaotic manner."

There's that word again: "chaos."

The simple fact -- as I noted yesterday -- is that Trump's White House is in almost-constant chaos.

No, the average person doesn't know who Gary Cohn is. Or Rob Porter. Or even Hope Hicks. But the individual names matter less than the collective churn and drama that sits at the heart of Donald Trump's White House.

That drama is, at best, a distraction. At worst, it's dangerous.

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