There have been a number of high-profile departures from the Trump administration for various reasons. For example: Michael Flynn, Hope Hicks, Rex Tillerson, Sean Spicer and many others. While this seems like a lot to me, I can't claim to have paid much attention to turnover in previous administrations. I'm curious to get some context and harder numbers on the topic.

Question: How has the rate of people leaving the current administration (for whatever reason) compared to previous administrations in the same time frame?

This could include White House Staff, Cabinet members and other political appointees whether or not they require Senate confirmation. Feel free to include extra details or groups of people in your answer if I have missed something. I would also welcome any comparison of the rate of dismissal versus resignation compared to previous administrations.

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    I'd be interested in some solid numbers for this and to know if there's ever been anything similar. Some left on their own accord. Many were fired. Some got in legal trouble and resigned as a result. There would be a fair bit of work in displaying the numbers, but I'd be curious to see if anything comes close.
    – userLTK
    Apr 21, 2018 at 0:39
  • How many senior positions in the State Dep. are currently not filled? Apr 25, 2018 at 22:29
  • @MartinSchröder That is a bit outside the scope of my original question, but it sounds like an excellent topic for a new question.
    – Texas Red
    Apr 25, 2018 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


A recent Business Insider article reported on this:

His White House has seen more firings, resignations, and reassignments in its first year than any other young administration in modern history.

The president's senior staff turnover rate during his first year in office was three-times higher than both Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — and more than five times higher than President George W. Bush, according to a recent Brookings Institute report.


You can find the underlying report here, which gives a far better overall picture replete with graphs and the like: https://www.brookings.edu/research/tracking-turnover-in-the-trump-administration/

You can see, for instance, a 34% turnover rate in senior level departures from the executive office of the president in the first year of the Trump administration, which dwarfs that of any president in recent modern history. Additionally, he had three Cabinet departures in his first year, while Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama all had none.

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    In a functionally related point, the Trump Administration has been slow to make all available political appointments compared to other administration, leaving many posts with only "acting" incumbents or holdovers from the Obama administration. The Administration has also made an exceptional number of appointees whose nominations have been withdrawn before they were confirmed.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 23, 2018 at 15:52
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    @ohwilleke This is also very true, which makes the high turnover even more interesting. The graph in the Brookings article is also interesting because I hear a lot about how most administrations have big turnover numbers in the first year because they replace people from the previous administration, but the graph seems to show the biggest rates during years 2 and 3 for most presidents. Maybe the 'A-Team' numbers they are reporting don't include those sub-cabinet positions that get replaced in the first year.
    – Texas Red
    Apr 23, 2018 at 16:43
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    "Dwarves" is the plural of the noun "dwarf". When "dwarf" is used as verb, it's conjugated as "dwarfs". Apr 23, 2018 at 17:04

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