Many times, during the campaign, candidate Trump assured us that he “would appoint the best people.” This was always a bit dubious, for a couple of reasons, but the main one was that the people we saw Trump appoint to represent him as his media surrogates were almost uniformly moronic to a degree never seen before on behalf of any public figure—and political surrogates are not generally shining lights. Trump surrogates Katrina Pierson, Corey Lewandowski, Scottie Nell Hughes, Jason Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, the horrible Michael Cohen, Boris Epshteyn and Jeffrey Lord all head-banging-on-a-wall embarrassing, making veteran Clinton shill Lanny Davis look like George Bernard Shaw by comparison, and Lanny’s a shameless hack. If these were “the best people” Trump could appoint to represent him publicly, what is his definition of “best”?
It is becoming clear that these fears were not exaggerated. I’m not speaking of the Cabinet positions, as all of those appointments are at least individuals of independent success and demonstrable accomplishments. The crucial appointments for Trump, however, are the staff around him. Both President Bush and President Obama saddled themselves with weak advisors of questionable wisdom at best, and Donald Trump really does need to have “the best people” to lean on, even more so than his predecessors.
So far, it doesn’t look good. The latest thud came this weekend, as it was revealed that conservative author, radio talk show host and Fox News television personality Monica Crowley, who will be Trump’s senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council, plagiarized large sections of her 2012 book, “What The (Bleep) Just Happened.” CNN found more than 50 long passages lifted without attribution from the National Review’s Rich Lowry and Andrew C. McCarthy, Michelle Malkin, conservative economist Stephen Moore, Karl Rove, Ramesh Ponnuru of Bloomberg View, Wikipedia, Investopedia, various think tanks, and a podiatrist’s website, among other sources. There’s no dispute, or argument about this to be made: she was caught. She did it. She stole material that was not hers, and used it in her book.
This is signature significance. Authors who plagiarize are not “the best people;” they are not even good people. They are lazy, dishonest people who fake it, and who thrive by exploiting others who are smarter, harder working and more talented to succeed. Anyone who ever listened to Crowley on the radio for more than five minutes—that was about my limit–will not be surprised by this. She is facile and smug, but without substance, all ideology and mockery, but no real insight. Naturally, the only way she could write a book longer than 35 pages was to steal.
Thus when one learns that an employee cheated like this, there is only one responsible response, and that is to fire her. If you don’t fire her, that is an admission that either you don’t understand the term “best people,” or that you don’t really care about having the best people, and just want reliable toadies and slugs.
When CNN contacted the Trump transition team and laid out its evidence (some of which you can peruse here), it received this disheartening response:
“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration. HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”
Well, now we know at least two of Trump’s hires are not by the wildest stretch of the imagination “the best”: Crowley, and the certifiable bozo who wrote that dreck.
It isn’t a politically motivated attack, you dolt: it’s hard evidence that there’s a lying fraud on staff, and anyone who lets you know is doing Trump a favor. If Monica had “exceptional insight” and capable of “thoughtful work,” she would be capable of writing her own book without stealing the words of people smarter than she is. The reasoning of the response is sub-Crowley: what does the size of HarperCollins have to do with anything? They were duped, that’s all. Is this cretinous statement arguing that plagiarism doesn’t matter if the resulting book sells? That’s both consequentialism and the ends justifies the means—this is the ethics Sahara desert we’re trekking through. The real issues facing this country need competent policy-making addressed by trustworthy people, neither of which is accomplished by keeping frauds like Monica Crowley around.
How can the American people trust an administration that doesn’t view lying and stealing as disqualifying for public service?