DemDaily: The Departed

May 20, 2020

In the last six weeks, President Donald Trump has fired five independent Inspector Generals, the career employees and internal watchdogs responsible for oversight of conduct in each of the official government agencies.

Three of those were acting IGs, having replaced predecessors who were also fired or forced out of their positions by Trump for investigating or exposing the wrongdoing or mismanagement by his administration.

Just one of those firings, under any other circumstances in history, would be an explosive story in-of-itself, but under this president the actions have become standard, blending into the barrage of daily chaos.


(Image: Los Angeles Times)

Most media outlets have given up tracking the names of the revolving door of Trump Administration Cabinet members, senior White House Staff, advisors and senior agency officials that now have left their positions in the hundreds. Whether fired, pushed out, or resigned, most involve controversy.

While the names of the departed are too numerous to list, we have attempted to categorize them for your benefit to provide a larger picture of the departed, voids and vacancies under this administration.

There are approximately 1,200 government positions that require Senate confirmation, including Cabinet secretaries, deputy and assistant secretaries, chief financial officers, general counsels, heads of agencies, ambassadors and other critical leadership positions. 

John Kelly left the White House in January, 2019 (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The Cabinet
There are 16 members of the President's Cabinet, including the Vice President and the heads of the 15 federal agencies.

Since Trump took office, nine of his 15 Cabinet Secretaries have resigned, been fired or resigned under pressure. A 16th, General Mike Kelly, was promoted from Director of Homeland Security to White House Chief of Staff, a position he held for five months before resigning.

The "A" Team
There has been an 86% turnover in the 65 high-level White House or senior staff departures and 38% of those have experienced multiple departures.

Former Congressman Mark Meadows is Trump's Fourth Chief of Staff (DailyMail)

Only ten of the original "A" team remain, including Trump son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner; Trump daughter and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump; Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway; Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller; and Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.

Key Appointments
Of the 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation, approximately 755 are considered "key" executive branch appointments. In addition to those who have departed without replacements, there are the little-known number of vacancies in the administration that have never been filled.

According to tracking by the Washington Post and the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, approximately 33% of key appointments remain officially vacant. Those include 97 which have been formally nominated but awaiting action by the Republican-controlled Senate, 17 appointments which have been announced but not submitted for confirmation, and 137 key positions which have remained vacant with no nominee under Trump's 40-month tenture.

The largest voids are in the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for protecting America's public security, where only 41% of those positions are filled, and only 48% at the Department of Justice, led by US Attorney General William Barr. The agency with the most number of key appointments filled is Housing and Urban Development, at 85%.

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Kimberly Scott

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Source: Brookings Institution, Washington Post, Partnership for Public Service, CBS

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