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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 7, 2017

The Struggle to Govern in the Trump White House: Competing Power Centers, Personalities, and World Visions The First 7 Months

Shirley Anne Warshaw
From the journal The Forum


Modern presidencies are characterized by the coherent White House staff that seamlessly move from the campaign into the White House to implement the new president’s agenda. Campaign staff built the policy agenda during the months-long if not years-long campaign, revised it to meet political demands at every juncture, and entered their White House offices with a clear view of how to achieve the campaign’s goals. In contrast, few members of the Trump White House staff moved from the campaign into the White House which soon became plagued by multiple power centers and limited agreement on the president’s broad agenda. In general, the Trump staff were unknown to each other and held quite different world visions, varying from extreme nationalists to globalists. This research examines the multiple power centers, the power voids, and the tools of power exercised in the White House. By the end of the first 7 months, the decision process had moved from groupthink to multiple advocacy to the coalition presidency.

Appendix 1: Trump White House Senior Staff

Assistants to the President (29), August 15, 2017.

Trump CampaignStephen Bannon1Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor
Kellyanne ConwaySenior Counselor
Stephen MillerSenior Advisor for Policy
Donald McGahnWhite House Counsel
Trump OrganizationHope HicksDirector of Strategic Communications
Daniel ScavinoDirector of Social Media
Jason GreenblattSpecial Representative for International Negotiations
Omarosa ManigaultDirector of Communications, Office of Public Liaison
Trump FamilyIvanka TrumpFirst Daughter
Jared KushnerSenior Advisor, Pres. Trump’s son-in-law
Recommended by FamilyChris LiddellStrategic Initiatives
Gary CohnNational Economic Council
Dina PowellNational Security Council
Reed CordishIntergovernmental and Technology Initiatives
Lindsay ReynoldsOffice of the First Lady and Former Chief of Staff to First Lady Bush
Vice President PenceMarc ShortLegislative Affairs
Nick AyersChief of Staff to Vice President
Reince Priebus2Chief of Staff
Sean Spicer3,4Former Press Secretary
Congressional StaffRick DearbornDeputy Chief of Staff for Legislative, Cabinet, and Intergovernmental Affairs
John DeStefanoPresidential Personnel
Robert PorterStaff Secretary
OtherGen. H.R. McMasterNational Security Council
Gen. Joseph Kellogg Jr.National Security Council
Kathleen McFarlandNational Security Council
George W. Bush White House
George W. Bush White House StaffJoe HaginDeputy Chief of Staff for Operations
Andrew BrembergDomestic Policy Council
George Sifakis5Director of the Office of Public Liaison
Thomas BossertNational Security Council

  1. 1Stephen Bannon was fired August 19, 2017.

  2. 2Reince Priebus was fired July 28, 2017.

  3. 3Anthony Scaramucci was appointed to the vacant position of Communications Director on July 21, 2017 and fired July 31, 2017.

  4. 4Sean Spicer was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders on July 22, 2017.

  5. 5George Sifakis announced his resignation on August 18, 2017.


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Published Online: 2017-11-7

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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