In general, however, the roll of departures cleaves to the pattern: Many of the names are those of campaign veterans. Priebus, Spicer, and Walsh came from the Republican National Committee, where they assisted the Trump campaign. Bannon was CEO of Trump’s campaign in its final stages. Flynn, Scaramucci, Manigault-Newman, and Gorka all served as surrogates of various types for the campaign. Price also aided the campaign, though he was in Congress. Few of these people had actually worked in government, with Price and Spicer as notable exceptions. Manigault-Newman, a former Al Gore staffer, actually had the greatest White House experience, but shockingly a person who Trump fired from The Apprentice for being a loose cannon proved to be a destabilizing force in the White House.
For the most part, these people have been replaced with people who have more government experience, are better at their jobs, or both. Priebus was succeeded by John Kelly, who has proven far better at maintaining some semblance of order in the West Wing, if not in the president himself. (Kelly’s transfer did require a new secretary of homeland security). Sarah Sanders, though serially dishonest and unable to speak for the president, has avoided the hissy fits and embarrassing gaffes that characterized the Sean Spicer era at the lectern in the Brady Briefing Room. Johnny DeStefano, a former aide to Speaker John Boehner, is becoming increasingly powerful within the White House.
There are few campaign holdovers left around Trump. The campaign staff was always smaller than a typical presidential effort. Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, has never gotten the White House job he covets; Paul Manafort, who replaced him, is under indictment by the special counsel for laundering $75 million.
Those who remain from the campaign have tended to reinvent themselves. Enigmatic campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks eventually emerged as third communications director, where she has outlasted any predecessor. Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller took on early, prominent roles in the White House and made serious errors: Conway coined the indelible “alternative facts,” while Miller hatched the disastrous first travel ban and then defended it in a cringeworthy series of Sunday-show appearances. Both have reinvented themselves as less public figures.
Two others find themselves in tenuous positions. White House Counsel Don McGahn, a former campaign lawyer, has a long pedigree in GOP politics, though he finds himself in a difficult spot over his handling of the Flynn firing and of recent judicial nominations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an early backer of the Trump run, seemed headed for the chopping block in July, but has somehow managed to stick around, despite continued attacks from Trump—most recently, calling his recusal from Russia matters “a terrible thing” during an interview with The New York Times.