Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lay Down With Trump-- Get Up With Cooties... A Less Fancy Way Of Explaining Reputational Risk


Friday evening, Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions tight end, tweeted a question: "Does anyone tell Trump to stick to politics, like they tell us to stick to sports?" Trump had been busy attacking Stephen Curry and Colin Kaepernick and the NFL. NFL Players Association’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith responded that "This union will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks" and this morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement that rebuked Señor Trumpanzee: "The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities." Trump petulantly cancelled an invitation to the White House for Stephen Curry who had already said he didn't want to go. Trump's assertion that it was a great honor to be invited to the White House was true-- until he moved in.

Who cares? Probably a lot of sports fans. But also a lot of White House staffers. That picture up top-- from The Onion-- depicts Sebastian Gorka being welcomed to the halfway house for fired Trump Regime members. But what about the left-behinds? A report this morning from Politico's Nancy Cook reports that staffers are looking for the exits and that "after a wave of high-profile White House departures this summer, staffers who remained are reaching out to headhunters to discuss their next move." She wrote it's "a fast-growing number" and it's "aides up and down the chain" who are currently "reaching out to headhunters, lobbyists, and GOP operatives for help finding their next job."
Staffers from the National Economic Council-- where director Gary Cohn is expected to be on his way out altogether after tax reform or onto a different role-- as well as the communications shop and beyond are quietly exploring their next moves. They’re talking to headhunters about positions as in-house government affairs experts at major companies, or as executives at trade associations, universities, or consulting firms-- ironically, jobs that run counter to Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra.

Political appointees want to leave for myriad reasons, according to recruiters, Republican operatives and White House officials. Morale is low, the Russia investigations seem only to grow in scope and constant churn at the top has left some staffers without patrons in a workplace known for backbiting and a tribal-like attitude.

“There will be an exodus from this administration in January,” said one Republican lobbyist, who alone has heard from five officials looking for new gigs. “Everyone says, ‘I just need to stay for one year.’ If you leave before a year, it looks like you are acknowledging that you made a mistake.”

Staffers are already laying the groundwork through networking, lunches, and résumés sent to D.C.-based executive recruiters, so that they can a land new job by the start of 2018. Two headhunters confirmed that they had heard from multiple White House staffers.

“There is no joy in Trumpworld right now,” said one adviser in frequent contact with several staffers. “Working in the White House is supposed to be the peak of your career, but everyone is unhappy, and everyone is fighting everyone else.”

...Roughly 23 White House staffers have also resigned or been fired since January including high-profile departures such Priebus, , Bannon and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to lesser-known appointees such as Michael Short of the communications shop, Derek Harvey of the National Security Council, or former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh.

This constant departures and changes in leadership could make it difficult for the administration to woo Republicans or top policy experts for new openings, said one executive recruiter-- a problem compounded by the fact that the administration is still trying to fill vacant political positions in both the West Wing and federal agencies.

So far, the Trump White House has nominated roughly 345 appointees for Senate-confirmed positions. By Sept. 22 in past administrations, Obama had nominated 459 people while President George W. Bush had nominated 588 and Clinton 407, according to historical data kept by the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service.

“The question ultimately is whether people face a reputational risk by serving in this administration. Will it hurt people?” added the recruiter, who hires for trade associations, companies, and firms, looking for a D.C. presence.

But, this recruiter said, interest is always high in people coming out of the White House: “Our clients are always looking for people who have insights and perspectives from inside the administration, whether it is on tax reform or health care.”

...It’s not clear whether controversy over Trump’s policy positions will make it harder for people to find work. Former press secretary Sean Spicer has struggled to land a role as a paid network or cable news contributor because of concerns about his credibility.

The Last Supper by Nancy Ohanian

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