The White House’s legislative affairs director is usually a low-profile position. Traditionally, directors prefer to work behind the scenes, quietly twisting arms on Capitol Hill, hoping lawmakers consider a president’s wishes.
Marc Short, however, Donald Trump’s legislative affairs director, has put the job in the spotlight. For example, Short has made 15 Sunday-show appearances since this president took office, which is unheard of for someone in his position.
Nevertheless, next week, he’s leaving his post. Politico reported this morning:
President Donald Trump’s legislative affairs director is heading for the exits just as the White House gears up for a major Supreme Court nomination battle and approaches a daunting midterm election landscape. […]
Short, who declined to comment on the record, is taking a position at Guidepost Strategies consulting firm and will teach at the University of Virginia’s business school, where he received his MBA, and will also serve as a senior fellow at the university’s Miller Center.
A Washington Post report added, “His departure … was confirmed by a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss a personnel move that has not been formally announced.”
And while I’m not inclined to update the absurdly long master list, I am reminded of a New Yorker piece from last week, in which Susan Glasser described this as possibly “the worst-run White House of modern times,” in which “no one is really in charge.”
Late last month, Martha Joynt Kumar, a scholar who has tracked White House staff during the past six Presidencies, reported that the Trump White House has an astonishing turnover rate of sixty-one per cent so far among its top-level advisers. No other Administration she has tracked comes close. […]
The Trump Cabinet has been similarly tumultuous: Pruitt’s departure, on Thursday, adds to a list that already included a fired Secretary of State, a fired Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a fired Veteran Affairs Secretary, as well as a vacancy that was created when Kelly moved from the Department of Homeland Security to replace Trump’s fired first chief of staff, Reince Priebus. All together, Trump’s Cabinet has the fastest turnover rate of any Administration in a hundred years. Tenures are so short that Kumar is now reporting on the turnover among the second and third waves of aides. […]
It might seem self-evident, but it bears repeating: Trump, whatever else he accomplishes, will certainly go down in the record books as the worst manager of the White House in modern times. And not only is this state of affairs not normal, it’s no way to run even a small organization, never mind a country. A senior European official recently told me that every time he shows up at the White House there is a new aide to meet with him, because the last one he sat down with has since been cashiered or fled. As each successive wave of aides comes and goes, what little institutional knowledge remains in the White House is further diminished. In such circumstances, of course, nobody knows who’s in charge or what the policy is.
A few months ago, Trump acknowledged the staffing exodus in his White House, but he rejected the idea that it was a problem.
“You know, I read where, ‘Oh, gee, maybe people don’t want to work for Trump.’ And believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House,” the president insisted. “They all want a piece of that Oval Office; they want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their resume; it’s just a great place to work.”
It wasn’t true at the time, and it’s not true now.