Saturday, August 11, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He attacked one of his "best people."

Trump took exactly one question from the press today. A reporter asked for his reaction to Unhinged, the tell-all book former reality show co-star and White House appointee Omarosa Manigault-Newman (who usually goes by her first name). "Lowlife. She's a lowlife," Trump said.

To be fair, Trump isn't the only person who thinks so. Omarosa was unpopular with other White House staffers, none of whom were entirely sure what her job actually was. She took a personal feud with a reporter into the headlines, abused the perks of working at the White House, and secretly taped Trump, which--while not exactly unprecedented--isn't exactly recommended workplace behavior.

Trump famously bragged on the campaign trail about hiring "the best people." Those people include his turncoat "fixer" Michael Cohen, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort (currently on trial for charges related to his work for a pro-Russian puppet government) and his deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates (who pleaded guilty to similar charges), his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt (the subject of literally dozens of ethics investigations before he finally quit), and his frequent-flying Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price. 

It also includes Michael Flynn, whom he hired over the explicit warnings of the Obama administration, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions (attacked by Trump himself in a tweet just today), white nationalist publisher Steve Bannon, and Carter Page, the bizarrely unqualified "foreign policy advisor" who either knowingly or unknowingly helped kickstart the Russian campaign to conspire with Trump. (The last description applies equally well to George Papadopoulos, another of the administration's crop of convicted felons.)

Some of Trump's "best people" aren't household names, like his 24-year-old "drug czar" who had been fired from his only previous job for not showing up to work. Others were only famous briefly, like Anthony Scaramucci, who survived all of ten days as Trump's White House Communications Director. (Scaramucci was the fourth person to hold that job; it's not clear which of the five who have served under Trump was the "best.") Still others became famous against their will, like Matthew Petersen, Trump's nominee for a federal judgeship who was humiliated by a Republican-led Senate confirmation committee over his lack of basic legal knowledge.

Why should I care about this?

  • Hiring people for bad reasons usually gets people who are bad at their jobs.
  • Presidents are responsible for the people they entrust with the authority of the government.