Donald Trump’s White House is unusual in a wide variety of ways, but one of its more bizarre traits is the competing factions that have taken root after just six months in office. Politico reported yesterday that in the West Wing, “top advisers have built up personal staffs to support their own agendas instead of using a traditional White House policy and messaging operation.”
The article added that this dynamic includes staffers, such as Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, having their own press operations, separate from the White House’s messaging apparatus. Even Republicans concede there is no precedent for anything like this.
The dynamic appears to be an outgrowth of the competing factions within Trump World, which includes a sizable Breitbart contingent, made up of several veterans of the right-wing website: Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Julia Hahn, and Tera Dahl.
This week, that faction got a little smaller.
As rival factions inside the White House continue to battle over urgent foreign policy decisions, a key ally of Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon is leaving the National Security Council, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Tera Dahl, deputy chief of staff at the NSC and a former columnist for Breitbart, is being reassigned to a position outside of the White House, three people familiar with the decision told BuzzFeed News. The move frees up National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to install another staffer of his choosing in his drive to reshape the NSC to his liking.
As for the growing list of Trump World departures, we can now update the overall tally. Note, some of the departures were voluntary, some weren’t.
- Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor
- K.T. McFarland, Deputy National Security Advisor
- Monica Crowley, advisor to the National Security Council
- Katie Walsh, Deputy White House Chief of Staff
- Boris Epshteyn, a Special Assistant to the President (he led the White House’s television surrogate operation)
- Andy Puzder, nominee for Labor Secretary
- Vincent Viola, nominee for Army Secretary
- Philip Bilden, nominee for Navy Secretary
- Anthony Scaramucci, White House liaison to the business community
- Shermichael Singleton, Senior Adviser at HUD
- Craig Deare, the NSC’s senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs
- Marcus Peacock, senior White House budget adviser at OMB
- Todd Ricketts, nominee for Deputy Commerce Secretary
- Mark Green, nominee for Army Secretary
- James Donavan, nominee for Deputy Treasury Secretary
- Mike Dubke, White House communications director
- Tera Dahl, deputy chief of staff at the National Security Council
I suppose we could add former FBI Director James Comey to the list, though he was already at his post when Trump arrived.
Regardless, for a White House team that’s only existed for six months, this represents a rather volatile employment environment.