The current occupant of the White House is far from hesitant about demanding loyalty from those who serve in the White House, his cabinet or Congressional Republicans. If you don't believe me, you can just check with former FBI Director Jim Comey or read his new book, “A Higher Loyalty,” or ask those, like Reince Priebus, who sat around the table in the White House and took turns sharing how honored they were to serve the president.
If you need another example of the rampant sycophancy crucial to dealing with this president, you can also check with the swarm of Congressmen who took turns coming to the microphone on the South Lawn of the White House praising the president in the aftermath of passing that horrendous tax bill.
Senator Orrin Hatch even went as far as stating Trump may be the greatest president ever. Really, now!
What many of these individuals came to learn is that, in the world of Trump, loyalty is a one-way street and telling this president what he wants to hear and not what he needs to know is the pathway to job security. Certainly Trump's wives have learned that valuable lesson about marital loyalty; now several members of his cabinet have entered the ex-wives club as well.
Interesting that with all of the recent cabinet firings, Trump is saying that he is finally getting close to having the cabinet he wants. My question is who stopped him in the first place? Certainly not the Democrats.
With a Republican-controlled Senate, all of Trump's cabinet picks were confirmed. That included the unqualified Betsy DeVos for Education, Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, Rick Perry for Energy, Scott Pruitt for EPA and the list goes on. It also includes the fired Tom Price at Health and Human Services and Rex Tillerson at the State Department. All were Trump selections; all were confirmed.
Maybe the more relevant question to be considered is, in the world of Trump, what exactly is meant by loyalty? Is it blind allegiance to an individual or, rather, as I suspect, agreeing with Trump regardless of the position an individual may have on a particular issue.
Recently Trump stated how he likes to have divergent opinions around him from which he will make his decision. Sounds great. That is how it is supposed to be in every administration. The problem with this administration is the lack of experience by the president combined with the lack of experience of many of those with whom he surrounds himself. This creates an environment that is not conducive to a proper debate and ultimate decision. Compound this with his penchant for surrounding himself with yes-men and discarding those who will actually stand up to him, and we have a prescription for disaster.
The obvious tendency of this president to undermine and ultimately discard those with some level of experience on a matter who disagree with Trump's own out-of-touch position should be of the utmost concern to every American.
Senior Economic Policy Adviser Gary Cohn based his objection to creating a tariff war with the rest of the global community on past history with that approach and the disastrous results that had occurred. End result: Gary Cohn now ex-Senior Economic Policy Adviser.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson focused on diplomacy as the preferred approach in dealing with international relationships, including North Korea; Trump felt it was a waste of time and so stated quite publicly. Add to that Tillerson's condemnation of Russia's interference in our elections and its guilt in the assassination of an ex-Russian spy on the foreign soil of our ally and the result is the same: ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster felt strongly that decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal is ill-advised and, since Trump clearly wants to undo anything done by the Obama administration, now H.R. McMaster is likewise the ex-National Security Adviser.
Similarly, Trump clearly wants to benefit his private sector donors by privatizing the Veterans Administration and opening up the running of the second-largest federal employer to private sector interests. VA Administrator David Shulkin was against privatization and now David Shulkin is an ex-administrator.
In Shulkin’s place, Trump has nominated his personal physician Admiral Ronny Jackson, who has no administrator experience and whose claim to fame is his glowing review of Trump's health. Definitely the right man for the job, if by “right,” we mean someone who is capable of claiming an overweight cheeseburger-eating 71-year-old can be in perfect health.
The moral of this story is that there is a very high cost to placing a severely insecure individual with a compulsive need to be flattered by those whose roles should be to provide experience and guidance to the position of leader of the free world. This is where we now find ourselves and it is not encouraging that there are close to three years left of his administration. Three years is a very long time when the goal is the dismantling of the federal government.