By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump made history this week when he fired his third national security advisor, John Bolton.

He’s now had more national security advisors than any first term president ever, adding to the already-high White House turnover.

Interestingly, despite his trademark Reality TV tag line, “You’re fired!” President Trump rarely fires anyone in person, dismissing Bolton in a terse tweet.

“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump said. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration.”

Despite the sometimes abrupt firings and resignations, Trump has claimed repeatedly his Cabinet represents “the best people.”

In fact, the Trump White House has such a high rate of turnover, you need a scorecard to keep track of them all. So that’s what the Brookings Institution is doing — keeping an “A” List of senior advisers, and a separate list just for all the Cabinet members who left.

President Donald Trump and John Bolton (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In just 32 months, 77% of the president’s senior staff turned over, according to Brookings.

Besides three national security advisors:

  • The president’s had five deputy security advisors.
  • Five communications directors.
  • Three press secretaries.
  • Three chiefs of staff.

And that does not count Cabinet secretaries who were fired, or resigned.

President Trump has had more high level Cabinet turnover than presidents Obama, Clinton, Reagan, and both President Bushes. That includes three secretaries at Homeland Security and defense; Two each at the CIA, Human Services, secretary of state, Veteran’s Affairs, the EPA, attorney general, Interior and OMB.

And many replacements are “acting” secretaries, which the president can appoint for 210 days without Senate confirmation — and who he can fire at will.

The bottom line: President Trump’s record turnover in two-and-a-half years is 66%. That’s 3% more than President George W. Bush had in eight years.

And it’s approaching the eight-year totals for Presidents Clinton, 73%, and Obama, 71%.

Currently, there are seven high-level “acting” Cabinet members, and soon to be eight when Trump appoints an interim successor to Bolton.

Here are some of the sources that we used for this Reality Check:

Brookings Institution: Tracking Turnover In The Trump Administration

Brookings Institution: Why Is Trump’s Staff Turnover Higher Than The 5 Most Recent Presidents?

Time: President Trump Likes Acting Cabinet Members. Research Shows They May Hurt Him

CBS News: Trump Turnover

Washington Post: Trump Nominations Tracker

PolitiFact: How Unusual Is The Turnover Among Top Trump Administration Officials?

Fortune: Tracking The Trump Administration’s High Turnover

CNN: Donald Trump’s Incredible Cabinet Turnover In 1 Photo

Politico: Trump’s Cabinet Has Become Severe Headache For His White House

Pat Kessler

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