Another week, another White House exodus. As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a State Department undersecretary, and one of Trump’s key aides were all sent packing this week—with more firings said to be on the way—Washington shook its collective head in disbelief for the umpteenth time at a president who seems to revel in dysfunction. Even before this month’s many departures, Trump had a 43 percent turnover in staff in his first year, compared with 9 percent for Barack Obama and 6 percent for George W. Bush. The president’s critics are quick to point to the constant churn as proof that he’s on the verge of unraveling. But that diagnosis doesn’t consider how much Trump has always “thrived on chaos,” The New York Times reported recently, “using it as an organizing principle and even a management tool.” Turnover and turmoil were constants in his business and in his campaign. The White House’s revolving door is going to keep spinning, but it’s Trump’s audience—not Trump himself—who is left feeling dizzy. rom the president’s perspective, it’s great reality TV, because no one can look away. But as Americans gawk at Trump’s unprecedented approach to governing, his famously short attention span is becoming our own. It’s hard to focus on any issue for more than a day or two, whether it’s mass shootings, trade tariffs, or the latest development in the Russia investigation. The same goes for the firings and the scandals. Congress, which struggles to focus in the best of times, is so driven to distraction by Trump’s issue hopping that legislation on major issues like immigration and gun control is in a deep freeze. The media is just as overwhelmed, chasing every tweet and morsel the president drops even as journalists confess they can’t keep up with the daily deluge. If we’ve learned anything from Trump’s first year, it’s that the Trump Show is always on and that the president is obsessed with the ratings. It’s leaving the country with little bandwidth to focus on anything else.
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