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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 28, 2021

Change and Continuity in White House Staffing: The Trump Factor

Matthew J. Dickinson and Kate Reinmuth
From the journal The Forum

Abstract

Early assessments of Trump’s White House portrayed an organization riven by personality disputes and administrative chaos. But in many ways, Trump’s White House staff descriptively bears a strong resemblance to its predecessors, as we demonstrate by drawing on more than 50 years of data on presidential staff composition. In terms of size, structure, and the distributions of functions, the Trump White House represents not a break with the past so much as its continuation. Trump’s staffing patterns departed from precedent more in the areas of staff turnover and recruitment; however, it is not clear just how significant those changes are.


Corresponding author: Matthew J. Dickinson, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, USA, E-mail:

Acknowledgments

We are especially grateful for the research help provided by Courtney Crawford, Rose Evans, Anika Heilweil, Margaret Joseph, Maddy Lyons and Eliza Van Voorhis.

Appendix A

CodeOccupationDescription
1Private sector – Business ExecutiveSenior leadership capacity (e.g., CEO, VP, CFO); private sector only.
2Private sector – Senior ManagementManagement capacity (e.g., chief of staff, provost, managing director); private sector only.
3Private sector – LawyerLawyer in any field; private sector only.
4Federal – Congress – ElectedElected member of the House or Senate.
5Federal – Congress – StaffAide to member of Congress or Congressional committee, or serving on Congressional staff body (e.g., Congressional Research service, Office of Technology Assessment).
6Federal – Executive Branch – Agency: Appointed or careerFederal department, agency, or regulatory commission. Note: If individual was appointed to a top–level executive position 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner) also Code 9.
7Federal – Executive Branch – International Focus: appointed or careerFederal government dealing with international affairs but not border security (e.g., Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA, State Department embassy, Foreign Service, US Trade, NSC, foreign policy advisor). Note: if individual was appointed to a top-level executive position 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner) also Code 9. Note: also Code 6 or Code 8 where relevant.
8Federal – Executive Branch – Previous White House ServicePrevious White House Office, or related policy councils (e.g., domestic, economic, national security) – but not other EOP agencies, (e.g., OMB, CEQ, US Trade Rep). Note: if experience in national security council, also Code 7.
9Federal – Executive Branch – Government Executive: appointed onlyAppointed senior management level in a government agency: executive levels 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner).
10Federal – JudicialJudge at the district/trial, circuit/appeals, or Supreme Court level. (Does not include law clerks and research assistants.)
11State – ElectedElected member of the state House or Senate. Does not include elected judges, which are under Code 13.
12State – Executive Staff: appointed or careerState department, agency, or regulatory commission (not elected). Note: if individual worked as top–level executive levels 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner) also Code 14.
13State – JudicialJudge at the state trial, state appeals, or state Supreme Court level.
14State – Government Executive: appointed onlyAppointed senior management level at the state level: equivalent of executive levels 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner).
15Local – ElectedElected position at the local level (e.g., mayor, city council, select board).
16Local – Executive Staff: appointed or careerLocal department, agency, or regulatory commission (not elected). Note: if individual worked as top–level executive levels 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner) also Code 18.
17Local – JudicialJudge at the local level.
18Local – Government Executive: Appointed onlyAppointed senior management level at the local level: executive levels 1–4 (e.g., Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Commissioner).
19Political – PartyPolitical party at any government level, excluding campaign work for a specific candidate.
20Political – Presidential CampaignPresident’s campaign.
21Political – Other CampaignAny campaign other than the President’s.
22Political – Presidential TransitionPresident’s transition to the presidential office.
23International OrganizationsInternational government organization (e.g., United Nations. World Trade Organization). Does not include non-profits, which are under Code 24.
24Non-ProfitNon-profit entity at any level (e.g., UNICEF, March of Dimes, Red Cross, United Way).
25LobbyistLobbyist for either a private or public organization at any level of government.

Appendix B

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Published Online: 2021-08-28

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