A Robust and Energetic Transition or a White House in Chaos?

At this point in Donald Trump’s presidency, roughly 50 aides, Cabinet members and advisors have been forced out, fired, or resigned. How high-level departures affect Americans depends on the role and replacement, particularly when it comes to senior staffers in economic advisory positions, homeland security, and foreign and domestic policy.

The Trump Administration had an estimated 42 percent turnover in the first year, according to the Brookings Institute. President Trump tweeted reassurance: “people will always come and go,” adding that he’s “always seeking perfection.” “There is no Chaos, only great Energy!” he added.

The circumstances surrounding each firing or resignation are played out like a high-stakes chess game between staffers and Mr. Trump. If players question or criticize his moves, decisions and policies, they risk enraging the president, who then flips the table, and often, a Twitter tirade ensues.

Mr. Trump uses each high-profile departure as an avenue to praise or eviscerate … even fire staffers. He heaps compliments on loyal staffers whose departures do not leave footnotes implying clashes with his administration, but rather a change of plans. They include exploring new opportunities, spending time with family, or providing a clean slate for Mr. Trump’s inner circle. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was replaced with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. The president called his third Communications Director Hope Hicks “smart, thoughtful, and outstanding” a day after Hicks resigned. By contrast, Mr. Trump aimed his ire at the Federal Bureau of Investigations. He said fired FBI Director James Comey was a “phony,” “liar” and “leaker” of classified information related to the Hillary Clinton email probe, as the two traded insults. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired days before his retirement.