The president once openly signaled plans to revamp his cabinet and staff after the midterm elections, calling it a “very customary” act — and his aides acknowledged that big changes might be coming. But while he demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after last month’s midterm elections, the once-breathless anticipation of his next personnel move has stretched into a long and awkward waiting game.
The result is an administration in a holding pattern. Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond approval of a new trade deal and vague references to infrastructure. His only clear priority is enforcing border security. The White House has even sent mixed signals about its desire to fight for a criminal justice reform bill that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, played a key role in shaping.
While many presidents shake up their cabinets after their first two years, Trump has turned what might have been a natural transition point into a months-long ordeal that has left many advisers in limbo, inhibiting their ability to prepare for the next two years, according to senior Trump officials and experts on the presidency.