Stampede Out of the White House
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a stampede of personnel leaving the White House, some very important figures and others less so. This is the largest turnover ever of a president’s staff in the first fourteen months, with 43 percent having gone. A small percentage were fired, but most left of their own accord. We should have known there was trouble ahead when Trump fired his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, after three weeks. And Reince Priebus, his Chief of Staff, and Stephen Bannon, his strategic advisor were also gone early.
Are the exits mainly because of frustration in working with an unstable president who is constantly changing his mind and who berates people when they have said or done something he disagrees with. Or is it mainly because they don’t want to be aboard what they perceive as a sinking ship, which could also take them down. Trump has said he would have no trouble replacing those who have left with great people, but one wonders what sane person would want to jump into Trump’s boiling cauldron and risk being vaporized.
Because of the Mueller probe, a number of members of the White House staff and those who participated in the campaign have had to spend large sums of money on legal help (which one assumes came out of their own pockets). The longer they remain in Trump’s employ, the more likely they are to witness unethical or illegal actions and subsequently be called to testify by Mueller, or the House or Senate committees.
The most recent departees of note were Hope Hicks and Gary Cohn. Hicks was one of Trump’s mainstays, very close to him, hardworking and completely dependable. She announced her decision the day after she appeared before the Mueller Commission and was questioned by the FBI. Could this have played a role in her leaving? Maybe she was just working too hard and was burned out by the demands made upon her. Could Trump have made a move on her? She was very attractive and we already know that Trump’s a sexual predator and lacks self-control? Maybe it will come out in a tell-all book that Hicks will publish when Trump is out of the White House.
Cohn’s exit was no surprise. He was for free trade and against the imposition of tariffs and Trump ignored his advice. Cohn had already been successful in getting Congress to pass a massive tax cut that helped corporate America and the wealthy one percent, with a few crumbs for the middle class. Why hang around the White House when the president isn’t going to listen to you.
The problem with Cohn leaving is that there are fewer adults in the president’s orbit to try and prevent him from making major policy mistakes. Who is going to handle the economy from this point on? Jared? Ivanka?
What may be more surprising than those leaving are the number of people who have stayed on even when Trump has disrespected them or suggested that they leave. These include Jeff Sessions, his Attorney General and Christopher Wray, the FBI chief. Rumor also has it that at times he has wanted to get rid of General Kelly, his Chief of Staff, Rod Rosenstein, the Assistant AG, and General McMaster who replaced Flynn as National Security Advisor.
One has to remember that Trump thinks of himself as the supreme intellect, able to handle any situation himself as he has told us on occasion. When campaigning, he said he knew more about how to defeat ISIS than America’s generals and he keeps telling us over and over again how smart he is. Maybe he doesn’t need any White House staff or advisors. Maybe he can run the country all by himself.