Some of President Donald Trump’s White House aides claim that an atmosphere of “numbness and resignation” is leaving them exhausted and seeking a way out.
Who feels burned out?
Several high-profile aides, including John Kelly, the president’s chief of staff, and Joe Hagin, a deputy of Kelly’s, are struggling to stay on board, according to New York Times report.
Last week, Kelly reportedly told a group of senators the White House is “a miserable place to work.”
Kelly is feeling beaten-down, several West Wing advisers told the Times.
“It seems as though Chief of Staff Kelly is losing power by the day,” said Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied White House turnover over the last six administrations. “It’s almost like a battery that’s draining. I’ve not seen any presidency operate effectively without putting somebody in there that you respect and you can trust.”
Tenpas said Trump’s staff turnover stands at 51 percent. The frequent turnover has not slowed since Trump’s first year in office, and Tenpas predicts Trump will have an “emptier White House than his predecessors,” the Times reported.
The turnover is expected to result in a mass exodus after the November elections, according to the report.
Stephen Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist, said Trump’s love of conflict is his way of life.
“This is how he won,” Bannon told the Times. “This is how he governs, and this is his ‘superpower.’ Drama, action, emotional power.”
Some of that drama plays out on social media, where Trump frequently Tweets exactly what’s on his mind.
“Trump understands the overwhelming power of modern mass communications,” Bannon told the Times. “Trump gets what the media itself has forgotten about themselves.”
Where is Trump seeking advice?
According to the report, Trump frequently seeks input from outside voices, including Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager, and his longtime friend David Bossie. Other Trump confidants include Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump has ignored the advice of several aides who want him to fire Pruitt over accusations about his misuse of authority, the report stated. But the two frequently talk, and Trump enjoys hearing Pruitt’s negative comments about Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, according to the Times.
Trump told reporters Friday that Pruitt “is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA,” but that “outside, he’s being attacked very viciously by the press.”