Another One Bites the Dust
It’s hard to believe but another one is gone. Another member of the Trump cabinet bit the dust with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigning last week. And Washington rumors have it that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will soon be stepping down, with President Trump unhappy about the way the citizenship question as part of the census was handled. As we know, the courts handed the president a defeat on that issue and he’s not a happy camper right now. Remember how Trump promised during his campaign to have the best people in his administration.
The amazing thing is how many cabinet members and high ranking administration officials have quit or been dropped from their offices by President Trump. (Once, they were top people according to Trump.) In fact, he has set a record according to the Brookings Institute. Excluding cabinet secretaries, 74 percent of top personnel within the executive office of the president, those responsible for making the decisions, have left the administration either voluntarily or have been fired. A New York Times editorial recently listed some of the people who abandoned the administration. Virtually all of these have been replaced by ‘acting personnel’ who do not need Senate confirmation or public hearings.
Michael Flynn, the president’s national security adviser, was compelled to leave in February 2017 because of his interactions with the Russian ambassador and Turkish officials.
The next national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, resigned in March of 2017 because of disagreements with the president over policy.
Jim Mattis, the well-regarded Secretary of Defense, resigned last December, again over policy differences with the president, specifically the withdrawal of American troops from Syria.
Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, learned of his firing by presidential tweet in March 2018 with rumors that he had called Trump a moron.
Tom Price, HHS Secretary, resigned in September 2017 over excessive personal spending in his position.
Kristjen Nielsen, Secretary of Homeland Security, was forced out earlier this year over disagreement with the president’s cruel immigration policy.
Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior, resigned last December, regarding his financial action and policy decisions which were under investigations.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fired by the president in November 2018 after enduring unchecked abuse from the president, mostly because he had recused himself from the Mueller investigation.
John Kelly, Trump’s Chief of Staff, also resigned in December 2018 after considerable conflict with the president.
Scott Pruit, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was pushed out a year ago after multiple scandals regarding unnecessary spending.
Thus far, seven cabinet secretaries, two national security advisers, and two Chiefs of Staff have left the Trump administration. The Times notes that under Trump there have been seven communication chiefs, four chiefs of the VA and four at the Department of Homeland Security, and four at HHS, counting interim heads. There have also been three Secretaries of Defense, four national security advisers, and three press secretaries.
How can there be any continuity of policy and action with the constant turnover of personnel in the Trump administration, when nobody knows who’s coming and who’s going. Well, there isn’t. Instead, there is constant chaos and confusion with no coherent policy in any area. And in addition to those who have departed Trump’s realm, many important positions including ambassadorships in critical countries remain unfilled with no one being nominated. Acting Secretaries are running many important departments without Senate confirmation. Everything is done by the seat of Trump’s pants instead of by careful planning and execution. Is this any way to run a government? Trump may be a “very stable genius” according to himself but he certainly does not have a ‘very stable government.’
Resurrecting Democracy www.robertlevinebooks.com