By Jason Taylor
Even since the June 2015 charade of “forcing” Trump to sign the RNC pledge to support the eventual nominee, Reince Priebus has been constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to ride coattails. He certainly got lucky with Trump in 2016, taking the White House chief of staff job fully aware of Trump’s instability, constant posturing, and impenetrable incoherence, just to advance his own career. He was one of the first Trump enablers, and now pays the price for that singular disgrace, kicked to the curb in a tweet.
It is fairly obvious that our president is out of control and those who were willing to embrace Trump in the first place are getting their due reward. It is shocking that, other than his own family, anyone with a semblance of respect, dignity or intellect would be willing to be part of this administration. My hope for Priebus is that he comes to understand the true nature of the catastrophe he helped to visit upon America.
Regardless of Priebus’s failings, the optics of this move are abysmal. It sends the message that the most effective way to claw your way up in the administration is to lace into your rivals publicly with profanity-laden invective. Rather than plugging the leaks, if anything, the back stabbing will only intensify, nurtured by the leadership-by-example at the top. More worrying is the continued conversion of our civilian government into one that’s run by military administration. This, alongside the corporate takeover of federal agencies, is exactly the kind of military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned against and is a short step away from abusive tyranny.
The real question is whether Trump will listen and take the advice of Kelly. If past is prologue, Kelly has his work cut out for him and with Scaramucci pressing Trump to be ‘full on’ Trump — a man who likes to do things HIS way — there is no confidence that Kelly will do any better than Priebus.
The troubling aspect of Kelly’s appointment is the presence of another ‘General’ (albeit retired) in the Trump administration. Trump surrounds himself with Generals like a good authoritarian leader. The main problem is Trump and he’s still Trump — a know-it- all egomaniac who cannot lead. So far he has offered no inspiration, no effort and no willingness to expand into the role of President. He still only can get it together to “campaign.” I doubt John Kelly can ‘fix’ what is really broken in this administration.
In another sign of Trump’s brilliant management style, no one has been named to take over Kelly’s post at Homeland Security.
From the inappropriate Boy Scout speech to the Mooch’s profane New Yorker interview to the disastrous Trump-skinny-care legislation and the public shaming and humiliation of Sessions and Priebus, what a disaster of a week, even for this President, who said “with the exception of the late, great Abraham Lincoln, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.”
At the risk of stating the obvious — Trump is the most dangerous and unstable individual ever to serve in the White House. It is remarkable how the majority of Republicans continue to kowtow to his every whim and fancy. Time for that to change. With their votes last night, Senators McCain, Collins and Murkowski had the courage to begin to stop the madness. When will other responsible Republicans follow? I’m not holding my breath, and you shouldn’t either.
The last time a beleaguered President replaced his Chief of Staff with a general was Nixon replacing H. R. Haldeman with Alexander Haig. Not long thereafter, Nixon himself was replaced. We can only hope history repeats itself.