Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

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The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources tracks turnover among senior-ranking advisers in the executive office of the president (which does not include Cabinet secretaries), whereas the second set of resources tracks turnover in the Cabinet.

Turnover on the president’s “A Team”

The following chart and table reflect turnover among the most influential positions within the executive office of the president. This data is compiled and tracked by Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, who refers to this group of advisers as the president’s “A Team.” The list of positions that make up the “A Team” is based on National Journal “Decision Makers” editions, and Dunn Tenpas’s methodology is described in detail in a report she published in January 2018. The chart and table below will be updated as additional members of the “A Team” depart their positions. It is important to note the following:

  • Because the “A Team” is made up of members of the executive office of the president, it does not include Cabinet secretaries.
  • The count for Donald Trump’s “Year 2” is ongoing.
  • Each position on the “A Team” is only counted once. If multiple people hold and depart from the same position (e.g., communications director), only the initial departure is tracked/affects the turnover rate.

The president’s 'A-Team': Turnover from year to year

Sources: National Journal “Decision Makers” editions (April 25, 1981, p.678; June 10, 1989, p.1405; June 19, 1993, p.1457; June 23, 2001, p.1886 and June 20, 2009, p.26). Kathryn Dunn Tenpas “Why is Trump’s staff turnover higher than the 5 most recent presidents?,” The Brookings Institution, January 19, 2018.


Summary and analysis of “A Team” turnover in the Trump administration

Set out below is a list of the senior level departures from the executive office of the president since the beginning of the Trump administration (each of the 65 “A Team” positions is only counted once toward the turnover rate, thus, this chart only includes the first person to hold/depart a given position).

 

Turnover in the president’s cabinet

The chart and table below, compiled by Brookings Senior Fellow Elaine Kamarck and Nicholas Zeppos, are dedicated to tracking turnover in the Cabinet. They will also be updated as additional turnover occurs. Unlike the trackers above dedicated to the president’s “A Team,” these resources look at every departure from the president’s cabinet, even if multiple people have occupied that position.

The president's Cabinet: Departures from year to year

Note: Excludes cabinet members who departed after serving insignificant time in succeeding administration. Composition and size of cabinet can differ between administrations. For instance, whereas Trump's cabinet consists of 24 officials and includes the Director of the SBA, George W. Bush's was made up of 21 and does not include the Director of the SBA. A given president's cabinet is defined as those officials who he decided to make cabinet-level.

Source: Agency websites, White House website and archives, and various news sources.

Summary and analysis of Cabinet departures in the Trump administration

Set out below is a list of departures from the president’s Cabinet since the beginning of the Trump administration.

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