It was only a matter of time before someone in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet stepped down.
Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Tom Price resigned on Sept. 29 following accusations that he had used extensive amounts of taxpayer funds to travel on private and military jets. While he is the first Cabinet secretary to be removed from the Trump administration, he is not the first major government official to step down in 2017. Several top members of the Trump administration have either resigned or been fired, from Chief Usher Angella Reid in May to the most recent departure, Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, in late August.
As with many of Trump’s actions, Price’s resignation is unprecedented. Even the shortest-lived Cabinet members tend to last at least a year before getting transferred, removed, or resigning from their position. Many of those who have been fired in recent months have only been in the position for a few months; Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci was fired after only a week. Trump has barely been president for a year, and yet more than 14 powerful public figures have either been removed or removed themselves from his team.
Perhaps Price’s resignation is a sign of the no-nonsense president that the country has (supposedly) been looking for. Trump does not tolerate any weakness in his staff, illustrating the resignation or removal of many of these officials. Former National Security adviser Michael T. Flynn was asked to resign after Trump was told that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence during the campaign. Scaramucci was fired after John Kelly assumed the position of Trump’s Chief of Staff and took issue with the publicity surrounding the Communication Director’s vulgarity-laced phone call with a reporter from “The New Yorker.” The phone call was filled with complaints and ego-laced promises to get several key members of Trump’s administration, namely the former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, fired.
To me, however, the recent slew of resignations and firings in Trump’s administration merely signifies the lack of control Trump has over his own staff. You must remember that Trump promised “the best people” for his Cabinet, yet each resignation is preceded by back-biting between presidential aides, as if this was a reality show and not a White House — the Scaramucci call, Priebus’s replacement with Kelly, and the conflicts with Bannon. Moreover, Trump’s staff appear more worried with pleasing him than with doing a good job in their positions. Back in June, Trump’s first Cabinet meeting made headlines simply due to the amount of praise doled out to the president from his Cabinet members.
It seems that the departure of Price stems more from Trump’s anger at Price’s inability to repeal Obamacare than from his wanton use of taxpayer money. Repealing Obamacare has been Trump’s main focus since the start of his campaign, but legislation to achieve this goal has been stopped time and time again. Perhaps the recent collapse of the Senate’s latest healthcare bill was what put the nail in the coffin, finally pushing Trump to get rid of Price.