Monday, May 14, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He called his own staff "traitors and cowards."

Trump had a friendly warning this afternoon for White House staff:

It's not entirely clear what set Trump off today, although there are a few likely suspects. The White House is still trying to contain the damage by a staff member's cruel joke at a private staff meeting about Sen. John McCain's failing health. Although arguably less offensive than the things Trump himself has publicly said about McCain, staffer Kelly Sadler's comment only came to light because someone in the room repeated it to the press.

Alternatively, Trump may be upset by the fact that 22 of his aides, friends, confidants, and lawyers dished on him anonymously in a recent Washington Post article on the Mueller investigation. It revealed, among other things, that Trump rants up to "twenty times a day" about the FBI raid on his lawyer/fixer, Michael Cohen. This is by no means a record for anonymous Trump administration sources, though: a New Yorker piece that reported on Trump's joking about his vice-president's homophobia had over sixty sources.

Another likely suspect is an Axios post that featured Trump staffers leaking about their leaking habits, in which they admitted to using leaks to carryout policy debates and personal vendettas in the press, and to leaking in order to force a wayward Trump back to reality. They also admitted to certain "dirty tricks," like copying one another's verbal mannerisms in leaks to avoid suspicion.

Why should I care about this?

  • Presidents are responsible for the people they bring into positions of public trust.
  • Some voters may have believed candidate Trump when he said he'd hire "the best people" to work with him in the White House.
  • It's not a good situation when a president's own staff admits they don't trust him.
  • Just because something is bad news does not mean it is fake news.
  • Loyalty to the good of the country (and not the president personally) isn't what makes someone a traitor.