The latest rumor coming out of CNN is that White House aides have until the end of January to decide whether or not they intend to leave the administration or stay through the November midterm elections. The deadline is reportedly intended to “help bring a sense of order to an anticipated staffing exodus,” according to one unnamed official.
Anonymous sources told the news outlet that “President Donald Trump is finding it difficult to recruit staff to fill the vacancies,” citing daunting political odds and an ongoing Russia investigation as the reason no one wants to work in the White House.
Chief of staff John Kelly is reportedly trying to find replacements for those leaving. “But the absence of willing and qualified replacements, paired with a lengthy hiring process, make it unlikely he’ll reach that goal,” CNN suggested.
“Kelly is eating bullets every day by himself and doesn’t have a lot of help,” said one person familiar with the personnel situation. “He needs reinforcements.”
According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, the rumor is laughable. “There has been no directive on staff departures and any suggestion otherwise is ridiculous fake news,” she said.
Acknowledging that “a revolving door is common in any administration,” the report goes on to claim that this issue is “magnified remarkably under Trump,” noting that “the unpredictability and chaos, along with a fear of costly legal fees in the wake of the Russia investigation, have added to the fatigue.”
Staffers who have departed:
- Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser announced her departure last year
- Deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, who is joining the private sector
- Jeremy Katz, Cohn’s deputy at the National Economic Council
- Sean Cairncross, a senior adviser who Trump nominated to head the Millennium Challenge Corporation
- Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who was dismissed from her job as communications director at the Office of Public Liaison
Staff rumored to depart:
- Don McGahn, the White House counsel
- HR McMaster, the national security adviser
- Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council chairman
“There are still a lot of people who have said that they are unwilling to work in the White House and there are a lot of people that the White House is unwilling to have come in,” said longtime Republican operative Doug Heye, adding that Trump’s current team consists of “all qualified people who are trying to do the best for their country.”