By Josh Cook
Sebastian Gorka spoke at the Washington Center on Friday, as the final visiting speaker of the program. During his session, he spoke about Donald Trump’s compassion and how he “hates firing people.” This was in direct contrast to what we heard from Kathryn Dunn Tenpas from the Brookings Institution, who had noticed Trump’s “predilection for firing people,” after realizing much higher turnover amongst Trump’s top-tier of administration compared to other recent presidents. Gorka’s comment seemed odd to me after listening to Tenpas, along with thinking about Trump’s claim-to-fame phrase before his presidency: “You’re fired.” I think we will continue to see high turnover from this White House administration, though I think a majority of people who come onto staff, from this point onward, will likely remain there for the rest of the term.
I think it’s important to pay attention to this trend as Trump gears up run for re-election in 2020 because, if he wins, he’ll need another four years of staff and he may have to start really going into the weeds to find conservatives, who didn’t work for George W. Bush and are not NeverTrumpers (the rules he has laid out for staffing), to work with him during that potential period. It will be interesting to see whether or not people who have resigned or have been asked to step down will be brought back on board during a second term if it happens.
Admittedly, I think it’s entertaining to keep track of the turnover in this administration compared with how people, and Trump supporters (both staff and not) discuss said turnover. It was fascinating to see Gorka directly downplay Trump’s desire to turn over positions, especially after he already held multiple roles in the White House staff before leaving the staff, but then having his name thrown around in the rumor mill to potentially take another position.