It's sort of his catchphrase


Looks like Team Trump has a problem: If the president wants to shake up his White House and fire some people, he's going to have to hire replacements. And that could turn out to be really difficult, since there's a decidedly limited market for people who want to rush into what looks like a burning building. Politico explains the already small pool of people who want "I worked for the Trump administration" on their résumés is further limited by people who are watching any news other than Fox and thinking maybe now isn't the time to join an administration where half the principals are under investigation for potential ties with Russia.

Four people who work closely with prospective nominees told POLITICO that some potential hires are having second thoughts about trying to land executive branch appointments as federal and congressional investigations threaten to pose a serious distraction to Trump’s agenda.

Oh, yeah. The possibility that you might end up under subpoena could be a disincentive, maybe. And it's one of the reasons this familiar graphic from the Washington Post hasn't shown a lot of change:

That's a total of 177 people named, out of 559 jobs -- and just 39 confirmed, mostly in the major cabinet positions. By comparison, by this point in the Obama and G.W. Bush presidencies, both presidents had nominated roughly twice as many people. Then again, neither of them was trying to achieve "deconstruction of the administrative state" through complete neglect and indifference. Among the departments missing a second-in-command are Agriculture, Education, Veterans Affairs, and the EPA, while every other federal agency has a bunch of openings at the top.

Despite all the opportunity for advancement and personal growth (if you don't mind some ass-kissing), people just aren't all that thrilled about working for Trump, even with the prospect of earning a snazzy "I survived the ___(day of week)___ Night Massacre" t-shirt. An attorney who represents potential political employees said three candidates in the last couple weeks said forget it:

“There’s no doubt in my mind that people are being very cautious, to put it mildly,” this lawyer said, adding that there is growing concern in Republican circles that the caliber of hires could deteriorate if the administration’s top picks drop out.

“You’re going to have a situation where they’re going to have trouble getting A-list or even B-list people to sign up,” the lawyer added.

Heh. That's assuming they had A- or B-list candidates in the first place. Seldom has the process of staffing a presidential administration so closely resembled the process of finding entertainers -- or for that matter, audience members -- for the inaugural festivities.

Not surprisingly, a White House spokesperson says everything's fine, and don't be ridiculous, the administration is having no problems at all finding job candidates “of the highest quality.” In an administration where the top qualification for the EPA administrator was a profound desire to dismantle the EPA, we aren't really too surprised by the sunny outlook.

Another White House official, speaking anonymously, said all the drama -- hoo boy, Corey Lewandowski might be back? -- was indeed hurting recruiting, but it still beats digging ditches (we're extrapolating, there):

“It’s not the best place to work right now, but you’re still working at the White House, so there are far worse jobs,” the official said.

For the sake of contrast, Politico talked to some Bush and Obama officials who worked in recruiting staff; like big smartypantses, they said they'd never had trouble finding competent applicants, because the White House tends to attract eager overachievers when it's not run by a bunch of rejects from the Ringling Klown Kollege (again, we paraphrase).

“I can’t speak to Republicans not wanting to join this administration but, as a general matter, we didn’t have trouble recruiting people — quite the opposite,” said Lisa Brown, who served as White House staff secretary under Obama for two years.

Yeah, yeah, best and brightest and The West Wing, just rub it in.

The hiring difficulties have extended, of course, to finding a new FBI director, possibly because Trump keeps floating partisan candidates like Sen. John Cornyn or Rep. Trey Gowdy, both Republicans, or former Senator Joe Lieberman, nominally an independent but terrible, and who withdrew because a partner in his law firm is now Trump's attorney for the Russia investigation. It's not too surprising they're having trouble finding enthusiastic applicants for the FBI job, which in this administration may be only slightly safer than being a drummer for Spinal Tap.

“It’s not so easy to find an FBI director in the Trump administration,” the White House official said.

The official added that Trump and his senior team are aware that hiring is not moving fast enough at agencies but said that, right now, “It’s just not priority No. 1.”

How true this is. Keeping your own ass from getting fired or indicted seems like a reasonable top priority. Fortunately, the situation's not altogether grim. We hear Team Trump may be able to get some help from a temp agency in Vladivostock.

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[Politico]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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