The Single Most Ethical Thing President Trump Could Do Right Now

Whoever this is, Trump needs him badly.

Whoever this is, Trump needs him badly.

As the Michael Flynn fiasco demonstrates, the infant administration of President Trump is foundering in disorganization, arrogance and confusion. This is not unusual for first term Presidents, though of course the news media would have us believe so, and most President learn quickly enough, along with their staffs and advisors, to steer into calmer seas before it is too late. However President Trump faces special challenges, both from his unusual non-political background and the non-stop hostility he faces from the opposition party and the news media. Every other President has received a so-called honeymoon, because everyone knows that the job is enormous and it is ludicrous to expect a President to master it quickly. Then there is the problem of the President’s own, shall we say, limitations.

Nobody who becomes President of the United States wants to fail. In this President’s case, it is clear (or should be) that not failing will require him to do a hard personal audit of what he does well, what he knows, what he doesn’t know, and where he is desperately over his head. Good, effective leaders have the courage to perform such audits, and failed ones do not. I am certain they taught Trump this in business school. Now comes the hard part. He has to recognize that his operations as constructed do not work, and will drag everything down, and quickly, if he does not act quickly to address the problem. Thus he has an ethical obligation to do what is always difficult for any leader, and especially pathological narcissists like Trump. He needs to admit that he needs help, and that his current personnel can’t provide what he needs. The President promised to hire the best people, and he doesn’t have them, at least not where he needs them most.

President Trump lacks a top Chief of Staff who has a proven record running successful government operations on the state or national level. When Ronald Reagan’s second term nearly ran aground, former Republican Senator Howard Baker took over the job of Chief of Staff. Currently, Trump doesn’t have an experienced Washington, D,C. operator who can command respect and keep him out of trouble. Steve Bannon is an ideologue, and uselesss for that role. Reince Priebus is, as most already knew, a weak political hack and a light-weight. He has to be replaced. Steve Miller is another governing neophyte ideologue, and Kelleyanne Conway is , like Priebus, a hack—she’s a pollster, essentially—way, way over her head. This is a low-level, inexperienced, pathetic crew, and President Trump better realize it. I suspect he does.

Today he had a meeting with Chris Christie, which made me (and not only me) wonder if Trump has seen the writing on the wall and realized that he needs an experienced leader and manager of substance and talent to save him from what are dangerously weak advisors, and a bumbling staff.

Fortunately, the GOP has a long, deep bench for this purpose. At this point, the only thing stopping the President from doing the competent, responsible thing and hiring one of them is his own ego. In rough order, here are ten individuals (there are more) who have the ability to maximize the chances of President Trump avoiding a crippling pattern of gaffes, misadventures and scandals:

1. Mitt Romney. Romney, like Trump, is non-ideological, and likes to get things done. It would be profoundly ethical—patriotic, humble, selfless, brave and noble—for Mitt to agree to such a role. I doubt that he would, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask,

2. Chris Christie. I know, I know. But he’s smart, and theoretically gets along with Trump. With all his flaws, he’s infinitely better than anyone else currently on staff.

3. Mike Huckabee. Huckabee was a pretty effective goverrnor, He could do the job.

4. Jeb Bush. Absolutely impossible, of course, but Jeb was also a mostly effective governor, and if either he or Trump could swallow their bile for the good of the country, he would be effective.

5. Mitch Daniels. Widely admired, Daniels was a governor and once a hot presidential prospect.

6.  Jim Webb. I think he’d take the job. He’s tough, he’s principled, and he’s been on both sides of the party divide, because Webb is essentially non-partisan.

7.  Colin Powell. A dream choice.

8.  Jan Brewer, former Arizona governor.

9. Tommy Thompson, former HHS Secretary and Wisconsin governor. Thompson is a bit old now (75) but he’s experienced and competent.

10. Rudy Giuliani.

Trump should just go down the list until someone says yes, which would be the ethical thing for any of them to do.

This is an existential test for his Presidency, and essentially one of character. We shall see if, in the end, he can rise above his limitations to the needs of the nation and the job. But then that has been the question from the beginning, hasn’t it?


76 thoughts on “The Single Most Ethical Thing President Trump Could Do Right Now

  1. Wait! I thought I read somewhere that Trump values loyalty above all else, and, if true, may put a crimp in some of the folks on your list.

  2. One of the Duck Dynasty guys would be better than any one of those ten. Newt, even. Another former general officer might work. Bobby Jindal might fit, and do well, if he wanted the job, but I don’t blame him for avoiding it.

  3. My best hope for the Trump presidency has been that Trump is smart enough to know what he doesn’t know. Jury is still out on that, but if he’s as smart as I goddamn well hope he is, I vote for (in order): Mitt Romney, Jim Webb, Colin Powell. A dreamer, I…

  4. Let’s all take a breath. Four years is a long time. Give him some time. Let him make some mistakes. It’s too early to say he can’t learn. Patience. Patience. “Pace, pace, bel Mazeppo.”

  5. Jack,
    You should offer to go to the White House and teach a monthly course on ethics free of charge. Maybe weekly would be better. I can float a little monthly cash your way to help cover the your cost.


  6. Jack said, “9. Tommy Thompson, former HHS Secretary and Wisconsin governor. Thompson is a bit old now (75) but he’s experienced and competent.”

    I personally like Thompson but he has been known to shove both of his feet down his throat at the same time, he’s kind of easy to fluster in his old age.

    Knowing Trump’s style, I think Chris Christie would be the best fit, although I’d much rather have Colin Powell.

    • Hard for me to unserstand, let alone, comprehend, the degree of unconscionable musings going on here. Really, is this the best we can do?

      • Trump tweet 6:13 this a.m.
        The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!

        Wrong, Mr Trump. So very wrong.
        The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn’s Lie Committed Serious — and Wholly Justified — Felonies

        I tweted to Trump this morning. I tweet at him a lot. This morbning I said, “Donald, remember this from school? The turkey’s done. You’re finished.”

        Yes, I’m a vindictive sonofabitch. It’s called The trump Effect.

        • Do you, like, feel something when you start going off the rails like this, like the story about Charles Addams sending the same cartoon to the New Yorker when he was about to have a breakdown? Because really, anyone wanting to see the intelligence types undermining an elected leader, no matter who it is, has jumped the democracy shark.

          The argument that a felony is justifiable to protect the country is pure, unadulterated Richard Nixon. Get a grip, man!

          • Damn! Rushed home from Truth or Consequences so I could marvel at today’s Daily Press Briefing. Oops! From the U.S. Department of State… Daily Press Briefing Schedule
            February 15
            There will NOT be a Daily Press Briefing today.

            Three guesses why, anyone?

            I think I’ve mentioned this before but, let’s break it down again. (I offer no substantive proof, only that I’ve been watching The Night Manager hahaha.)

            Our intelligence agencies are in a secret war. One group despises Trump, the other Clinton. I keep telling you, expect the unexpected. Even a coup. There’s so much under the table secret machinations going on that, really, you and I are only capable of reacting to surface events. This all goes way deeper than the surface.

            I can’t even tell the good guys from the bad guys. Except for Trump. Very bad guy. Yesterday I gave him six months. This morning I give him six weeks.

            • Anyone seen the film “The Good Shepherd” about the CIA just post-WWII and onward? This film, and every article I’ve read about Britain and the SOE during WWII (Special Operations Executive) to CIA screw-ups to Tom Clancy novels to histories of NASA to conspiracy theories about the CIA, show me only one thing: we love them and we hate them. We need them. We don’t know what they do. And we don’t like everything they do (that we know about).

              But do we really want to go back to 1929 when Secretary of State Henry Stimson wanted to shut down the “cryptology department” at State, saying, laughably, “Gentlemen don’t read other people’s mail.” ???

      • One of my favorite quotes came from a friend of mine, he is a wise man.

        If we want change in our lives the change must begin in us.

        This also applies to our politicians; If we want our politicians to change, the change must begin in us.

  7. Jack, what about Rick Perry? As much as I have ridiculed him and worked (and failed) to get him OUT of our Governor’s office, he IS an able administrator.

    Just keep him away from public speaking: he is smart, but flusters too easily.

  8. Boy, I hope he follows this advice. I would add Larry Hogan to this otherwise excellent list. A Republican governor of a moderately blue state who has a demonstrated ability to work across the aisle.

  9. Hypothetical thought. The big word is “If”.

    If Trump Was Coordinating With Russian Intel to Undermine the Election, We Demand A NEW Election!!

    IF this were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, would we have a new election? Thoughts.

    • Doubtful.

      Foreign governments run psyops campaigns in each other’s elections ALL the time.

      Russia has been doing it in ours since the Cold War.

      The burden is proving if it had any substantive effect whatsoever. (It didn’t)

      The additional burden is proving Trump actually is complicit in such coordination. And I’m certain any links like that would be specious and unprovable at best, outright fabrications and wishful thinking at worst.

    • We’ll have a new election for president in 2020 not before. We can only hope our institutions are strong enough to survive until then and that any damage can be undone after the next election.

      If Trump is removed we get a theocrat, nearly as bad but at least we’re pretty sure he’s not in bed with foreign powers.

      If the theocrat is also removed we get a Randian,

      Under no circumstances will moderates and liberals not be fucked over for the foreseeable.

      • “We can only hope our institutions are strong enough to survive until then and that any damage can be undone after the next election.”

        They are strong enough to survive one man. I don’t know if they are strong enough to survive after all our periphery institutions are subsumed by Left wing insanity.


        This word is increasingly used irresponsibly. Even if Pence uses his *gasp* moral worldview to guide his politics (as if the Left doesn’t), we have this cool thing call separation of powers.

        Again, have faith in our institutions.

        “Under no circumstances will moderates and liberals not be fucked over for the foreseeable.”


        1) the right is not some huge monolithic lock step voting bloc.

        2) if your hysteria IS justified, maybe it ought be a lesson to not acting the exact same way when you are in power that you fear your opposition will act when they are in power.

        Novel concept that.

        • “2) if your hysteria IS justified, maybe it ought be a lesson to not acting the exact same way when you are in power that you fear your opposition will act when they are in power.”,

          Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the left could suddenly learn the benefits of federalism? If you limit the president’s and congressional power, you limit the importance of who the president and congress members are.

          Sadly I think they’re unwilling to do that because they love a powerful, far reaching government and only are viewing Trump as a speedbump on their way to a ever more powerful federal bureaucracy.

      • Under no circumstances will moderates and liberals not be fucked over for the foreseeable.

        Welcome to the conservative world, ala’ 2008. We actually went into the wilderness during Bush’s second term, when Big Gov really took off over our protests.

        And great damage WAS done, to our constitution, our society, the USA’s world standing, and to citizens’ rights, under Bush and Obama. The nation survived.

        Elections have consequences, as liberals’ former leader was fond of saying.

    • But no, there wouldn’t be a new election, there’d be a temporary constitutional crisis that would either be solved by brute force like when William Henry Harrison died and his VP said (with no clear constitutional authority) “I’m the President now” and none of the other branches didn’t mount any serious opposition to the claim. Or there would be a frantic push to Amend the Constitution while the normal line of succession established in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947….

      I would think.

    • Exactly what part of the U.S. Constitution would authorize a new election?

      Let me help you — none of them.

      If Trump were to be impeached, Mike Pence would be president. Please refer to the 25th Amendment and the Presidential Succession Act (3 USC 19) for further reading. Neither of them authorize a new presidential election.

      Finally, and most pedantically, there is no such legal standard of proof as “beyond a shadow of a doubt”. The standard thought to apply is simply the subjective judgment of the Senate, which tries impeachments. Some have argued that indictable crimes ought to carry a “reasonable doubt” standard, but there is no procedure or law of which I am aware that could be used to enforce such a standard on the Senate.

    • This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in awhile. And we’ve all seen a lot. “We lost, so we want a do-over.” The American public spit right in your eye, you can’t stand it, and you continue to bitch and search for rationalizations and remedies. YOU LIED. YOU LOST. The electorate didn’t buy into your lies, and even if Trump was never seen as the savior, he was the vehicle for people to say “We’ve had enough of your bullshit!”

      • The American public spit right in your eye…

        Spit was not the bodily fluid the American public used on the Government Establishment class… the fluid was more yellow, and required a step stool to hit them in the eye.

        “We’ve had enough of your bullshit!”


        • Playground response. That’s really not at all accurate, Chris. Though I’m sure it’s comforting. By any measure, Trump was more honest about his intentions and policy plans that any recent candidate. His misrepresentations and hyperbole hampered his candidacy,

  10. Colin Powell has proven he only put an R besides his name in the pursuit of power under Reagan. After being canned by Bush 43 he went full on for the other side.

    Condalezza on the other hand would be a wonderful choice.

  11. Tangential to the topic: “Lindsay Lohan stands up for Trump”

    I hope that is a false flag op, as she is exactly the wrong sort of endorsement. Lohan is the embodiment of spoiled, entitled rich brat trading on celebrity instead of integrity, honesty, or civility.

  12. Since this more or less fits in with this topic, I’m curious to know your thoughts about Retired Vice Admiral Robert (Bob) Harward (Navy SEAL) reportedly being President Trump’s front-runner to replace Flynn? I think given their history he’s definitely the one Mattis would pick were it up to him. He could pick Keith Kellog who stepped in as acting security advisor but the learning seems to be toward Harward.

    Somehow I don’t think that picking David Petraeus for the job would be a good idea. He does have that pesky mishandling of classified information hanging over his head which I have no doubts the left would find a million things to say about; the least probably being they’re both “traitors” or some such. There’s always the possibility that’s why he was passed over for the Secretary of State position.

    I have (for myself) came to the conclusion that President Trump could put God himself (or whatever higher being, if any, people believe in) and it would still be met with hate and vitriol from the other side. It’s easy enough to see with the appointment delays and filibusters and boycotts and all the nonsense. David Shulkin made it through unanimously to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He’s also the only holdover from the Obama administration. Maybe that’s just coincidence. They quickly forget that Neil Gorsuch unanimously passed the Senate by voice-vote in 2006 too for his appointment to 10th District Circuit Court of Appeals. Now he’s controversial. One should take a look at who the Democrat senators were in 2006 who gave “yay’s”.

    • “I have (for myself) came to the conclusion that President Trump could put God himself (or whatever higher being, if any, people believe in) and it would still be met with hate and vitriol from the other side.”

      True as true can be.

      As for Petraeus, he’s untrustworthy, and should be in prison.

      • I don’t disagree about Petraeus and why he was on the shortlist to replace Flynn is anyone’s guess, but as of a couple hours ago, according to Foreign Policy Magazine ala Yahoo News, the position has been offered to Harward and he’s weighing the position. Of course, the comments following were all about how he’d be a “traitor” right along with “all of Trump’s cabinet” and would be under the suspicion of “treason” if he takes the job. Sigh….

        Nevermind facts that he served as deputy commander of the United States Central Command, spent time on the National Security Council, serving as the director of strategy and policy for the Office for Combating Terrorism, speaks Farsi which could be beneficial when dealing with Iran, (though I’m sure someone will yell about him attending school in Iran even though it was due to his father’s Naval position and station) was commander of SEAL Team 3 and as head of a special operations task force in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He holds a master’s degree in international relations and strategic security affairs. Harward also wrote a 2013 column for the Huffington Post espousing the importance of improving education opportunities for women across the globe.

        But see, none of that matters because he was picked by Trump. Why have a National Security Advisor with any of the above qualities on his resume? I refer to my above comment quoted by Jack.

        As an aside, I haven’t seen any other media report he was offered the job at this time.

        • Well. gee whiz. If Hillary could channel Eleanor Roosevelt, why not have Trump channel the prophet Mohammed? Each equally silly, but each has the requisite press interest.

        • But see, none of that matters because he was picked by Trump.

          No, none of that matters because he gave classified intel to his mistress.

          If you complained about Clinton’s e-mails, you are estopped from supporting Patreaus.

    • I wonder if Trump were to ask Hillary herself, if that would cause pause to the hate and obstruction.

      Bill, on the other hand, knows where the bodies are buried, and would make a wonderful contribution… if you could trust him to stay bought.

  13. Anyone here freaked out by this tidbit?

    Last month, the Trump Organization announced that initiation fees for Mar-a-Lago membership were doubling to $200,000. For that price, members get access to the president, including the opportunity to take selfies with senior White House staff.
    And the chance to publicly identify one of the people who carries the nuclear football for the president.

    Oh, no, of course not. Shame on me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.