1. We are told that President Trump was thrilled with Anthony Scaramucci’s vile, obscene, threatening, vainglorious interview attacking his own colleagues and making Samuel L. Jackson’s movie rhetoric sound relatively refined. Incredible. An individual who represents the White House expresses himself in a published interview like a preening teenage gang member, breaches all existing standards of management and professionalism, throws red meat to the stalking news media writing the narrative that the President’s office is a den of narcissists, assassins, jerks and nut-jobs, and the President is applauding.
This is a level of irresponsible leadership not just unprecedented in U.S. history, but seldom equaled in the history of national leadership world wide. Incompetent and irresponsible don’t begin to describe it.
2. We are also told that the President was disgusted with Reince Priebus’s failure to “return fire” at the White House’s thuggish communications director. Wait, what? What kind of leader wants his staff to have public pissing matches? That’s a rhetorical question; the answer is obvious: a bad leader.
Yes, Priebus is a weenie: Ethics Alarms marked him so in 2015. Trump knows he is a weenie: if Priebus hadn’t been a weenie, he would have stopped Trump from getting the Republican nomination. He sold out instead.
Priebus is a professional however, who knows, as Scaramucci and Trump do not, that a warring staff at the highest levels of government makes the public nervous and that government look like a Three Stooges short. As I wrote in the post about the Mooch’s outburst, Priebus and Steve Bannon should have presented their letters of resignation unless Scaramucci was disciplined. If Priebus was a weenie, so was Bannon. “Returning fire,” however, would have been disruptive and destructive. The President is angry with Priebus for for being prudent, exercising restraint, being responsible, and being professional—in short, for conducting himself ethically.
3. Continuing his remarkable knack for firing subordinates for the wrong reasons and making them sympathetic, the President fired poor Reince. No matter how idiotically the firing came about, it was still the right thing to do. Priebus should not have been hired in the first place. He is a weak-willed, inadequately skilled political hack whom I believe sold his allegiance to candidate Trump to the detriment of his party and his country. Priebus was an inept chair of the Republican National Committee—a strong and competent one would have blocked Trump—and couldn’t possibly do his new job of keeping an impulsive, reckless, politically inexperienced and none-too-bright Chief Executive on a steady path. It was unethical of Priebus to accept the position of Chief of Staff when he knew or should have known that he couldn’t do it well or even passably.
4. There is good news, incredibly enough. Back in February, I wrote that
“President Trump lacks a top Chief of Staff who has a proven record running successful government operations on the state or national level….Currently, Trump doesn’t have an experienced Washington, D,.C. operator who can command respect and keep him out of trouble…This is a low-level, inexperienced, pathetic crew, and President Trump better realize it. I suspect he does…. [I] wonder if Trump has seen the writing on the wall and realizes 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.”
And, I should have added, himself.
Well, while John F. Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security and retired four-star Marine general Trump announced would replace Priebus, was not on the long list of Chief of Staff candidates I suggested that “Trump should just go down…until someone says yes, which would be the ethical thing for any of them to do,” he certainly is the kind of individual I was recommending. Four star marine generals know who to run a staff, and they are decidedly not weenies. This is the most encouraging development in the Trump Presidency so far. He will either make the President and the White House shape up, or if he is not accorded the authority and respect he needs to do that, then he will quit.
32 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Scaramucci Attack Interview Aftermath”
I feel for Priebus, but he just wasn’t a wartime consigliere.
Trump’s Thought Processes:
If Trump can just pack one or two more soldiers into his Staff, they might just hold his feet to the fire with strong guidance and advice.
Jack, you’re sounding just like MSM now.
Bit of a conundrum isn’t it? You have had a track record of equal critique of both sides. But now it’s what, 80% critique of Trump, and in the strongest terms? Because… Reality?
I’m not saying you’re biased. I’m saying that you might consider the possibility that at least some MSM outlets are like you. Mostly the smaller, local ones rather than the DNC cheering squad.
I’m not sure what that means. I follow the facts, when I know they are facts, and analyze accordingly. The MSN doesn’t do that.
“what, 80% critique of Trump”?
Jack’s a long way from 80%. But I am encouraged to see that he’s an equal-opportunity critic.
Was there ever doubt?
I’ll back up Texagg04 here…. if anyone hasn’t caught on to Jack’s highly negative opinion on Trump, their reading has been highly selective..
The original comment was “You have had a track record of equal critique of both sides. But now it’s what, 80% critique of Trump.”
Sue wasn’t claiming that Jack has changed his negative opinion of Trump, and neither was I.
Sue was claiming that Jack used to be 50/50 critical of “both sides,” which I took to mean being about far more than Trump. If Jack were 50% critical of the MSM and 50% critical of Trump, that is how I read Sue to be claiming.
However, Jack has, I believe, posted FAR FAR more about MSM than he has about Trump. So even if he were 100% negative on both MSM and Trump, the balance of what he has written has been far more about the MSM.
Without having done a full discography, that’s how it feels to me. Apparently Sue thinks Jack’s been about 50/50 right/left, and now he’s shifted to being largely critical about Trump. I don’t see it that way.
Yes, Jack has been heavily critical of Trump all along, but make no mistake, he’s been a lot MORE critical and more frequently of the MSM than he has of Trump. No way it’s shifted to 80% on Trump (and negative).
Understood, sorry for the misunderstanding.
You said Priebus was an inept chair of the Republican National Committee—a strong and competent one would have blocked Trump
I’m confused. Read on (from LA Times, May, 2016)
Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, has been working to bring around party holdouts to accepting Trump as the GOP’s presumptive nominee. He assured Politico in an interview Friday that it’s “highly, highly doubtful” that Trump would fail to be nominated at the GOP convention this summer or that any rule changes would be implemented to block him.
Rule change? Rule change!? Thus is my confusion. If rules can be changed willy nilly… I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but it bears thinking about.
Rules can and should be changed if it is the only way to prevent a national and party catastrophe, which was going to be the result if Trump was nominated. We thought the catastrophe would be the party being destroyed and Hillary Clinton moving her thugs and secret police into the White House with a majority in both Houses. Moral luck spared the nation that, but gave us another crisis. The Party’s duty is to the nation. Priebus sold his party out; he and Ryan could have stopped Trump long before the convention.
“The Party’s duty is to the nation”
That is cute. The establishment parties have been about nothing but their own power for most of my lifetime.
You are correct, Jack. It just has not been that way in a looooonng time.
The duty is the same. Whether those so bound have the integrity to follow it is a separate issue.
We are in violent agreement as to the duty.
I would love to see it in practice.
Jack, while not surprisingly I agree with most (all?) of your critique here, I would note one thing about Kelly – his lack of political experience (as I understand it).
As an MBA, I appreciate the role of managerial talent (though neither Dubya nor the Trumpster have done much to prove me right). (Neither, for that matter, has Tillerson, who seems obsessed so far with efficiency, in a department where the importance of efficiency is far down the list of important factors (like effectiveness)).
Kelly does have a “proven record running governmental organizations,” one of your important criteria, and that will surely do him well. Ditto for his age, his mission-first-low-ego, and his apparent no-bullshit demeanor.
But it seems to me one of the critical roles of a good COS at the White House would be a strong feel for Congressional relations, and for the press. I don’t believe he has experience in either of those. The really effective Chiefs of Staff – James Baker, Leon Panetta (and I’m curious who you’d add to the list) have possessed “all the above.”
If he fails, it may be because of that lack. However, the more likely cause of possible failure will be the jerk he serves; I find it hard to believe that even someone like Gen. Kelly will be able to make The Trumpster “shape up.”
One doesn’t simply become a general or admiral without a minimum ability to navigate political waters.
Well, not so much, really.
The military is an extremely hierarchical place; hierarchy is mission-critical. Chain of command is THE structure. The ability to persuade others over whom you have no direct control is way, way down the list of relevant skills. I agree you can’t be a total jerk and make it to the top, but that’s still a fairly low bar.
Generals and admirals have a huge immediate interface with probably as many civilian employees as soldiers and have an incredibly increased interface with actual politicians as well.
Their understanding of hierarchy is an added benefit.
I think you know more about this one than I do, so I’ll defer to your assessment.
Did not see the below since I am reading from the top, Charles. Sorry for the unneeded comment.
SW, no problem. And, to add to your point, turns out that in Kelly’s particular case, he was Congressional Liaison for the Marines for several years; I suspect that is MORE than typical, and certainly counts as giving him political experience.
Now that we established that Kelly should should be able to navigate political and bureaucratic waters, let me emphasize that, given our general experience with the Trump Admin, I am not certain he is competent to do so.
Charles, with all due respect, you never served, did you? One does not become a general officer (or even a Major, unless in a very technical field like medicine) without this skill set. Not since WW2 made battlefield promotions to offset upper rank deaths.
That’s twice in two days that you’ve suggested that the Republican Party should have blocked the nomination. I was equally appalled as you when Trump pulled ahead, and utterly disgusted that both parties nominated total pieces of crap as the nominees.
Where I part is if it would have been right or wise for the Republicans to block Trump. One party had a fair primary. No antidemocratic superdelegates, no rigged debates, no media collusion to take out the more popular candidate.
The Democats did all of those, and not only lost but hurt the party and left it in dissaray. The Republican party already has an issue with a disconnect with its base. It would have possibly ended the party to block Trump.
I wrote an essay about this, more than one, but I’ll summarize:
1. They did not have to let Trump run at all. He wasn’t a Republican.
2. Once he began insulting Bush and being vulgar, they had every right to throw him out. Let him sue.
3. There are no laws stopping the GOP from choosing its nominee any way it chooses.
4. It duty is to the process and the nation. If the party decided that Trump did not represent its values and was not a respectable representative of the party, it had not just the power but the obligation to block him.
Wouldn’t this have widened the schism between the party and its base, though?
Though having significant overlap, I don’t think the Euler diagram of Trump’s base and a traditional Republican’s or even a traditional Conservative’s Base have enough overlap for that to be a certainty.
Trump’s base isn’t the GOP base. It doesn’t matter. If the base suddenly decided to fall in love with Sideshow Bob, a mature, responsible, ethical party still has to say, “No.”
Well, there’s at least some good news about John F Kelly appointment. I suppose that I can take solace in that.
“John F Kelly appointment”
I read that as ‘JFK’ for a second… 🙂