The photo above was taken on January 28 in the Oval Office.
President Donald Trump was in the midst of an hour-long “congratulatory” call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the White House’s readout. In the photo, he is surrounded by his White House brain trust: chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, press secretary Sean Spicer and national security adviser Michael Flynn. (Vice President Mike Pence is also there!)
Just over 200 days later – 202 to be exact – the only men in that picture still employed at the White House are Trump and Pence.
And while Priebus, Bannon, Spicer and Flynn have all been let go (or left), that picture doesn’t even capture the breadth of departures at the senior staff level in the first seven months of the Trump administration.
Take the job of communications director.
In the Trump transition, the job was offered to Jason Miller, who accepted before eventually demurring – citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Eventually Mike Dubke was brought in to fill the role in February. He resigned just three months later. Spicer took over many of those duties until late July when Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Trump friend, was hired. (Spicer quit in protest.) Scaramucci was out after just 11 days. (But what an 11 days!) Now longtime Trump loyalist Hope Hicks has the title.
The staff chaos belies Trump’s attempts to cast his administration as a well-oiled machine. “Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media. The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it,” he tweeted on February 18.
The picture above proves just how wrong Trump’s assertion was – and is. This is a flailing administration, beset on all sides and with no clear idea where it even wants to go.