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In a New York Times Opinion Piece, Matt Dickinson Explains Why Trump Wants a New Chief of Staff Now

December 10, 2018


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Middlebury College Professor of Political Science Matt Dickinson says the announcement about the departure of John Kelly, President Trump’s chief of staff, is not “just the latest round of White House chaos” but consistent with changes made by most modern presidents’ staffs.

According to Dickinson, the news about Kelly’s departure marks “the shift in focus from governing to campaigning” as the staff prepares for the 2020 election. His argument is supported by research he conducted with Kathryn Dunn Tenpas of the Brookings Institution that showed “most modern White House staffs undergo a significant overhaul in the president’s third and fourth years in office in preparation for the reelection campaign.”

“Governing and campaigning in the recent administrations are relatively distinct processes,” says Dickinson in his piece, adding, “The expertise a president requires from his staff to govern is not always the same skill set he needs for campaigning.”

Regardless of who ends up filling the position, Dickinson says this person will play a critical role in the future of Trump’s presidency.