Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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What did Donald Trump do today?

He attacked yet another ex-staffer he'd supposedly never heard of.

In September 2018, the New York Times published an anonymous editorial headlined "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration." The author described a White House staff dedicated to "thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses," like his propensity for "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back." 

Today, the author of that piece revealed himself to be Miles Taylor, who was the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security until his resignation in November of last year.

Trump's reaction followed a now extremely well-worn formula for when a former employee criticizes him: he attacked Taylor, called for him to be fired from the (unrelated) job he now holds, and claimed—falsely, unless his memory is failing him—that he'd never heard of him.

The same pattern played out with a number of other ex-Trumpers, like:

  • Russia probe target and senior foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos (Trump's allies retroactively demoted him to "coffee boy")

  • Trump's Apprentice co-star and advisor Omarosa Manigault, who Trump called a "dog" and a "wacky lowlife"

  • his White House aide Cliff Sims, who Trump falsely said was a "gofer" he "hardly knew" and at the same time threatened with a lawsuit for divulging things a "gofer" would never know.

The list also includes far more senior staffers and appointees, like John Bolton (national security advisor and "a sick puppy"), John Kelly (chief of staff, "way over his head"), H.R. McMaster (national security advisor), Tom Bossert (Homeland Security secretary and Taylor's boss, "completely embarrassed himself"), Anthony Scaramucci (very briefly Trump's communications director, a "mental wreck"), Gary Cohn (National Economic Council director, "I could tell stories about him like you wouldn't believe"), James Mattis (secretary of defense, "the world's most overrated general"), Rex Tillerson (secretary of state, "dumb as a rock"), Michael Cohen (Trump's "fixer," but a "rat," according to Trump), Steve Bannon (Trump's chief political advisor who "lost his mind" and "has nothing to do with me or my presidency"), Jefferson Sessions (attorney general, a "total disaster"), Mary L. Trump (his "seldom-seen" niece, "a mess") and many, many others

Trump campaigned in 2016 on his ability to hire "the best and most serious people."

Why should I care about this?

  • Either Trump is the most incompetent judge of character and ability ever, or the dozens of people all saying the same things after coming in close contact with him are correct.