Trump has had more staff turnover than any administration in modern history

  • The first year of President Donald Trump's White House has seen more firings, resignations, and reassignments of top staffers than any other first-year administration in modern history.
  • His Cabinet turnover exceeds that of any other administration in the last 100 years.

President Donald Trump rocketed to reality TV stardom for his love of two words: "You're fired!" And he seems to have brought his penchant for terminating employees to Washington.

His White House has seen more firings, resignations, and reassignments in its first year than any other young administration in modern history.

The president's senior staff turnover rate during his first year in office was three-times higher than both Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — and more than five times higher than President George W. Bush, according to a recent Brookings Institute report.

And Trump's cabinet turnover exceeds that of any other administration in the past 100 years.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, fired last week via tweet; former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, ousted after the media exposed his extravagant taxpayer-funded travel habits; and John Kelly, the former Secretary of Homeland Security who was promoted to White House chief of staff, all served the shortest terms of anyone in their positions in recent history.

And if the past is any guide, turnover will jump in Trump's second year in office.

Since Trump's one-year mark in January, turnover among top staffers has grown to 48% (as of March 15) — 31 of the 65 officials the Brookings report tracked. So Trump's first 14 months in office have now seen more departures or reassignments than the first two years of the last four presidents' entire first terms.

Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at Brookings who authored the think tank's report, says especially high rates of turnover increases disruption and inefficiency, deprives the administration of outgoing officials' personal networks and political connections, and can have a domino effect, as top aides to departing staffers often follow them out.

RELATED: Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration

Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration
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Notable people who have been fired or resigned from Trump's administration

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks reportedly announced her resignation after testifying about her job and being required to tell "white lies."

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by President Trump in March 2018.

(Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

White House aide Omarosa Manigault insists she resigned and was not fired from her role in December 2017.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned from his position on July 5, 2018 after a number of ethics scandals.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Sally Yates was fired from her post as acting attorney general when she refused to enforce President Trump's travel ban. 

(Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Rob Porter resigned as White House staff secretary in February 2018 amid abuse allegations made by his ex-wives.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

White House Counsel Don McGahn

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

H.R. McMaster was replaced by John Bolton as national security advisor in March 2018.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

White House aide Kelly Sadler left her position in June 2018 after reportedly mocking Sen. John McCain.

(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn announced his resignation in March 2018 after becoming a key architect of the 2017 tax overhaul 

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his interactions with Russian officials. 

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

President Trump announced David Shulkin was out as secretary of veterans affairs by sending a tweet announcing he had nominated his personal physican, Ronny Jackson, to replace him on March 28, 2018.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in early May.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned in July.

(June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned in July.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Former advisor to President Donald Trump Steve Bannon resigned in August.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director was fired in July after just 10 days on the job. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump fired Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh amid White House leaks in April.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files)

Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned in late September. 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Trump fired U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Preet Bharara in March.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Mike Dubke resigned as White House communications director in late May.

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Walter Shaub, former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics in Washington, DC resigned in July.

(Photo Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka resigned in August 2017. 

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Rick Dearborn, White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs, left the White House in December 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)


Tenpas did not count Cabinet secretaries among the top officials she tracked, and she only counted each position once, meaning that while Trump will soon select his fourth official communications director, only the first departure is counted in the turnover rate.

Here's a closer look at Trump's turnover compared to his predecessors:

Trump's senior staff turnover (not including Cabinet secretaries) in year one was over three times higher than Obama's.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider



Senior staff turnover (not including Cabinet secretaries) during Trump's first year was higher than the last four presidents' first two years, but hasn't reached former President Ronald Reagan's yet.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider





Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson served just 424 days in office, the shortest of any of his recent predecessors.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider





John Kelly left the department of Homeland Security to become White House chief of staff in July, making his tenure at the helm of DHS the shortest since the agency's founding in 2002.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider





Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price had the shortest tenure of any HHS chief in history.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

See Also:



SEE ALSO: MEET THE CABINET: Here are the 24 people Trump has appointed to the top leadership positions

DON'T MISS: Here are all the casualties of the Trump administration so far

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