White House staffers 'told to say whether they intend to stay in 2018'

Trump administration experiencing unusually high turnover

Jeremy B. White
San Francisco
Wednesday 10 January 2018 02:21 GMT
Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the White House
Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the White House (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House staffers have reportedly been told to decide whether they intend to stay in their posts through the midterm elections at the end of the year - another indicator of unusually high turnover in the Trump administration.

CNN reported that the ultimatum has come as Chief of Staff John Kelly struggles to fill vacancies, quoting an anonymous source who said a year in the tumultuous administration felt “like a decade”.

Several high-level aides did not survive Donald Trump’s first year in office, among them: former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former top adviser Steve Bannon and short-lived communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Some of those departed staffers have plunged into deeper controversy since exiting. Mr Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI, and Mr Trump has effectively disowned Mr Bannon after the erstwhile ally was quoted impugning the Trump family in a new book.

The list of departures could grow, CNN reported, with White House counsel Donald McGahn and National Security Adviser HR McMaster both said to be sources of “frustrations” to the President (the White House did not comment). Last week, CNN reported that top aides to Vice President Mike Pence could also be on their way out.

Replacing departing staffers could prove tough given a widespread reluctance to join an administration still perceived as overly chaotic and persistent chilliness to Mr Trump from the Republican establishment

And an ongoing investigation of potential links between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia continues to cast a long shadow, with CNN quoting an unnamed source who described a view that joining the administration could be a “ticket to the grand jury”.

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