Some turnover is normal in an administration, but only a few years in this level of turnover isn’t.
This is from today.
Inside President Joe Biden’s tight-knit inner circle, few – if any – White House aides have spent more time by his side in the last three years than Stephen Goepfert. That will change at the end of this week.
Goepfert, Biden’s personal aide, is set to leave the White House for a role at the Transportation Department, marking the departure of a key cog on Biden’s team who has been by the President’s side at every major moment since the first months of his 2020 presidential campaign.
The first White House staffer Biden sees most mornings, and the last he sees nearly every night, Goepfert’s tenure as Biden’s “bodyman” was marked by a keen understanding of the cadence and details, both big and small, that drive a man who has been a public official for more than four decades, according to senior advisers.
Considering Biden’s age and general poor functioning, Goepfert’s role would be pretty crucial. The body man then usually monetized that access. Instead he’s leaving early and making a lateral move within the government.
A liaison to Biden’s only real base is also exiting… as of yesterday.
The White House’s liaison to Black voters, Trey Baker, left the administration on Monday, the White House confirmed.
Baker was a senior White House adviser for public engagement and left the administration to work at law firm Barnes & Thornburg as a partner. He will be based in the Washington office. Baker served as the national director for African American Engagement during Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, when he managed the campaign’s outreach plan to Black voters.
Not a problem if there isn’t going to be a 2024 campaign.
Jill Biden’s press secretary left at the end of the last month. So did Biden’s antitrust adviser. His White House comms director was going to leave and then stayed. Psaki moved on to MSNBC. His top labor adviser left in June. Cedric Richmond, who headed the Office of Public Engagement, stepped out in April.
Dana Remus, White House Counsel; Assistant to the President, left in June. Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of Communications; Special Assistant to the President, left in May.
This is a sampling.
What does all of this tell us?
1. The Biden administration is dysfunctional and has no coherent central authority. A lot of turnover within an administration means it’s mismanaged. We’ve seen that pretty clearly over the years.
2. A lot of top administration appointees have no confidence in Biden. They don’t expect him to run again and are looking to advance their careers by finding another gig.
But Biden would normally be expected to hold down the job for at least one term. This isn’t the ideal time to resign and get another job. Or so you would think.
The question is do they know anything that we don’t?
I’m not saying that Biden is going to step down for health reasons at the end of the year. I still think he wants to run again for that matter, but unless his numbers improve, the party will block him. And yet with the gathering pace of these resignations, it wouldn’t hugely surprise me if something were going on behind the scenes.