Republicans say the problems mean that Trump, an outsider who basically took over the party, is still viewed with suspicion in establishment circles.
“The talent pool is shrinking, because who wants to sign up for crazy?” said Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).
“Nobody wants to step into a situation where you’re flying by the seat of your pants and don’t know whether what you just said will hold up from one news cycle to the next,” he added. “Nobody is going to be lining up for positions with that much uncertainty.”
The abrupt resignation of White House communications director Michael Dubke, who handed in his papers before Trump’s foreign trip, highlights the president’s dilemma.
Dubke’s departure, which was only announced on Tuesday, comes amid hand-wringing by Republicans over the trajectory of the GOP president, who has seen his approval numbers sag.
Investigations by congressional panels and a new special prosecutor looking into Russia’s role in last year’s presidential election have slowed Trump’s agenda and repeatedly thrown the administration off balance.
So has the general turbulence on Team Trump, which has struggled to put together a consistent message — in part because of the Trump’s own tendency to go off script.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s combative former campaign manager, and ex-deputy campaign chief David Bossie are rumored to be under consideration to operate a so-called war room to deal with the deepening Russia controversy. But it is unclear whether he would be able to get the administration on track.
Political experts doubt it, arguing Trump himself must set the ship straight with his own behavior.
“I don’t foresee any staff changes having an impact on the trajectory of this administration,” said Ryan Williams, a former adviser to 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “You cannot retool the communications operation unless the principal retools.”
Trump has repeatedly undercut his own team, sending advisers out to defend impossible positions or contradicting his spokespeople on key issues, often resulting in days of crisis management.