A Robust and Energetic Transition or a White House in Chaos? (cont.)
The departures and replacements show that the president is surrounding himself with advisors who wholly support his decisions on domestic and foreign policy. There’s no room for compromise. The effects are felt in the stock market, Americans’ investment portfolios, and global relationships. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was replaced by hardliner John Bolton, who has advocated using military force in Iran and North Korea. CIA Director Rex Tillerson was fired and replaced by Mike Pompeo. Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn reportedly resigned after disagreeing with the president over tariffs on Mexico, Canada, and China, but he left on good terms. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who told the Department of Justice attorneys that they should not defend Trump’s Muslim travel ban in court, also resigned.
Some departures have a positive effect since the appointees brought scandal to their departments. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin resigned after an ethics probe over a taxpayer funded European trip while the agency is reportedly suffering with large wait times and caseloads. Rob Porter resigned after domestic violence allegations by two ex-wives. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price resigned over private air travel financed by taxpayer money.
Some of the most high profile departures are a blessing for the administration and Americans. Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who reportedly steered Mr. Trump to campaign victory but later clashed with the president, gave the alt-right movement momentum. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who allegedly lied to VP Mike Pence about conversations he has with the Russians, has pled guilty for lying to the FBI.
In addition to the Trump Administration’s personnel changes, more than 24 Congressional Republicans have announced that they are not seeking re-election—signaling a critical juncture for the GOP in November midterms. Key departures will include House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). The resignations mark the largest combined number of incumbents from a single party to step down since 1996. Six Senate and House Republican incumbents have already resigned. “Many attribute their decision to leave Congress to the hyper-polarized environment, poor approval ratings and difficulties the Trump administration has created for Republicans in re-election campaigns,” writes Grace Donnelly in an April 11, 2018 Fortune article.
As the Trump Administration’s evolving Cabinet and staff scramble to stay on the president’s good terms, Americans are in for a roller coaster ride on how departures and appointments affect their lives. After all, these individuals are in charge of handling the nation’s agencies that provide services for the American people.