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Scott Pruitt’s resignation marks the latest in a series of speedy departures from President Donald Trump’s White House.
The Environmental Protection Agency administrator became known for heavy deregulation and multiple ethical scandals, including several spending abuses. Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, has taken his spot.
Other recent departures include legislative affairs director Marc Short, trade adviser Everett Eissenstat, and Joseph Hagin, deputy chief of staff who served for 14 years under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush.
Inching toward the year and a half mark of Trump’s presidency, we decided to check back in on the turnover rate of his administration.
Trump has surpassed his five predecessors at this point in his tenure, and is on track to surpass their two-year turnover rates, according to a study by the Brookings Institution’s Kathryn Dunn Tenpas.
"Generally, with the five prior presidents, a fair number of staff leave after midterms and nearly 24 months on the job," Tenpas said. "It it a typical burnout point, so I expect a late fall exodus as well, which would drive up the turnover figure into uncharted territory at the end of year two."
After a year and a half, 57 percent of Trump’s top White House positions changed hands. (This analysis covers 65 positions.)
For context, after two years in office, Barack Obama’s White House had a 24 percent turnover rate, George W. Bush had 33 percent, Clinton had 38 percent, George H. W. Bush had 35 percent, and Ronald Reagan had 57 percent.
Tenpas counted positions filled by at least two people, so a communications director position held by four different people under Trump has the same impact on his turnover rate as one held by two people during the Bush administration.
When Tenpas looked at only the 12 most important positions in the White House originally dubbed the "decisionmakers" by National Journal, Trump’s team had already outchurned his contemporaries.
Trump’s White House saw turnover in 75 percent of these positions, which include the chief of staff, White House counsel and National Security Adviser. Obama’s White House saw turnover in 41 percent of these positions by the end of his second year. At the lower end of the spectrum, both Bushes saw 17 percent turnover, and at the other end, Clinton and Reagan saw 58 and 59 percent turnover, respectively.
Email interview with Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, senior fellow with Governance Studies at Brookings, March 14, 2018
Brookings, Tracking turnover in the Trump administration, July 5, 2018
New York Times, All the major firings and resignations in Trump administration, March 16, 2018
New York Times, Bush Veteran Joseph Hagin to Leave Trump White House Post, June 19, 2018
The Hill, Top Trump trade adviser Everett Eissenstat to leave White House, June 26, 2018