Date of Graduation

Fall 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Research Sponsor

Dr. David Cohen

First Reader

Dr. Daniel Coffey

Second Reader

Dr. Ron Gelleny


When studying presidencies and the success or failure of a presidential administration in the United States, it is essential to study the presidential transition. By studying this process, a better understanding of why certain events occurred or how exactly different accomplishments were achieved can be explained. Generally, outgoing administrations, regardless of party, are interested in aiding in the peaceful and professional transition of power onto their successor. This transfer of power is a vulnerable time for the United States government so it is of great interest of any political party to make sure that the incoming administration is ready for anything on day one. My focus of research is on how the presidential transition process impacts the effectiveness of the president. The hypothesis I am testing is that President Trump had an ineffective transition that, as a result, led to an ineffective initial presidency. By conducting a qualitative analysis of President Donald Trump’s presidential transition and initial term of his presidency, evidence is provided as to the scarcity of staff and its effect on the lack of communication within the administration in addition to the power center and chain of command that is dysfunctional and has been largely nonexistent for part of the first year. This, in addition to other factors, has led to an ineffective initial Trump Administration. However, lessons can be learned from the missteps made and the Administration can begin to take steps in the right direction to become a productive and efficient White House for the remainder of President Trump’s term.