You know that haunting impression you have that the White House of this president is a turbulent, tumultuous place with more staff turnover than the Cleveland Browns quarterback corps?
You were right.
Every year every White House is required to report to Congress the comings and goings of staff and their salaries. Donald Trump’s White House is setting records for the here-they-come-there-they-go part.
In the single year ending last Saturday, June 30, fully 61 percent of Trump’s senior staff left their jobs for one reason or the other. Only Bill Clinton’s 42 percent change comes close, although 19 points isn’t really close, is it?
In the same 365-day period of his presidency, George W. Bush saw one senior staffer depart.
According to Martha Kumar, a political science prof of Towson University, Trump’s senior staff churn is easily the highest of any modern presidency.
The 61 percent figure does not include what’s-his-name Scaramucci, the very temporary Trump communications director who came and went all within the year, nor those staffers who left before June 30, 2017.
It does include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former top economic adviser Gary Cohn, former deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn and former spokesman Sean Spicer. Geez, remember him?
Overall Trump White House staff turnover was 37 percent, according to the report.
Conventional wisdom is that rapid staff turnover hurts an administration’s continuity. Uh-huh. Perhaps you’ve noticed Trump’s presidency is whatever the opposite of conventional is. He seems to like the apparent chaos, keeps everyone on their toes.
The report to Congress offers perhaps one possible reason for why some of the 63 percent of the White House staff did not leave: The president handed out 170 salary raises during that 12-month period. Trump family Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner draw no salary.
Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for First Lady Melania Trump, received a $40,000 raise to $155,000. National Security Adviser John Bolton gets the maximum White House salary, $179,700. He hasn’t left yet. But then it’s only been 85 days.