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Power Struggles: Through the Revolving Doors of the White House

What does the most recent departure from the White House signal? And how many top-level resignations can the administration really afford?
by Erik Niklasson | Mar 9 2018

Trump’s top economic advisor Gary Cohn announced he’s leaving the White House on Tuesday after a bitter struggle with the President over tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. His departure marked the third high-profile resignation from the White House this year alone. On February 27th, Hope Hicks, Trump’s former communications director, left after admitting in a nine-hour marathon session before the House Intelligence Committee as a part of the Russia investigation, to telling certain “white lies” on behalf of the president. At least she lasted somewhat longer than her predecessor, Anthony Scaramucci, whose 10-day tenure holds the record for shortest term ever in that office.

Hicks’ resignation came only weeks after staff secretary Rob Porter quit in early February after domestic abuse allegations levelled by his two ex-wives went public. Add these names to last year’s long list of turbulent exits, including erstwhile White House press secretary Sean Spicer, chief strategist Steve Bannon and national security advisor Michael Flynn, and it raises the question: Why can’t the president get his House in order?

In Fire and Fury, author and journalist Michael Wolff, offers a scathing peek under the hood of the Trump administration and provides some possible answers as to why people are flying in and out of the White House.

To begin with, Wolff argues, none of the key players on the Trump campaign team, including Trump himself, actually believed he would win the election. In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump was assuring his wife, Melania, who didn’t like the media attention running for the presidency had brought with it, that come November their life would go back to normal. Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, were both planning their post-campaign lives.

Thus, when Trump finally took the reins and began piecing together his administration, he was ill-prepared. As a result, it didn’t take long until the power struggles between some of Trump’s closest advisors, most notably between Bannon and Kushner, shook the foundations of Trump’s administration. Although Bannon eventually lost that battle, leaving the White House in August 2017, the turbulence has continued. So what’s really going on behind the scenes?

To get Wolff’s take on why President Trump is struggling to keep staffers in the White House, head over to the blinks to Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.

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