Trump's Cabinet catastrophe is the worst in memory.
Trump's decision to purge Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen highlights his administration's uniquely disastrous Cabinet, from which he has lost more officials than any president in 25 years.
"All told, 15 Trump Cabinet members have left since he took office, which is higher than any president going back to Clinton, despite Trump’s being in office for a shorter period of time," Politifact noted on Friday, summarizing the ongoing leadership disaster.
For comparison, over 8 years of their presidencies President Bill Clinton had 12 Cabinet departures, President George W. Bush had 4, and President Barack Obama had 9.
Trump has been president for less than two and a half years.
The Nielsen purge was accompanied by the removal of Secret Service head Randolph Alles, along with Claire Grady, second in command at Homeland Security, and Ron Vitiello, acting director of ICE.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) cataloged the vacancies with a tweet noting that defense secretary, DHS secretary, UN ambassador, FEMA director, secret service director, ICE director, and DHS deputy are current open roles that all lack permanent leaders.
"President: Present, but unaccounted for," the congressman said, summing things up.
One of the major problems with Trump's Cabinet is that they are corrupt in the same mold that he is. His former health and human services secretary racked up thousands of dollars in luxury travel, as did his interior secretary.
Even when corrupt Cabinet officials have been ousted — not because of Trump having ethical guidelines, but because they generated negative headlines — they have been replaced with other, similarly corrupt figures.
It has been a rolling disaster that continually worsens.
Trump's failure to appoint permanent, consistent leadership to key roles extends beyond his Cabinet. The Brookings Institution notes that he has a 66 percent turnover rate with his "A Team," the decision makers whose portfolio of responsibilities have the most domestic and international impact.
In just his first two years in office, Trump is far more volatile than his two immediate predecessors, Obama and Bush.
He has also still failed to nominate anyone for 140 key executive branch positions. Trump and his ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have often complained about Democrats opposing his nominations — but you can't confirm someone if there isn't a nomination.
The leadership vacuum Trump has created is compounded with his racist impulses, in which even his already compromised officials like Nielsen, who have executed his most inhumane policies, still cannot please him.
He reportedly pushed for her and others in the immigration hierarchy to break federal law as part of his drive to keep refugee migrants out of America and fired them when they wouldn't follow through on his illegal demands.
The net result is that America lacks serious leaders who know what they are doing, and instead the country is left to rely on Trump's consistent cluelessness.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.