You know, it’s late, I’m finally finished decorating the tree, nobody’s visiting the blog anyway, and when they do and try to share an article without an scintilla of “hate speech” in it, Facebook blocks it. But ethics never rest, and I’m going to post this anyway.
The President announced that ol’ Mad Dog won’t be staying on for an” orderly transition” at DOD after all: today the President announced that Mattis’s deputy would take over on January 1, and Mattis can get head start on collecting shells in Boca, or something. One more time, the news media and social media are acting like this is some kind of scandal, because they 1) hate the President and 2) couldn’t manage a lemonade stand themselves.
I’m sure Mattis would have been welcome to stay on a couple more months as originally announced—if hadn’t publicized a resignation letter that implicitly attacked the President. You can’t do that and expect to stay in any job, much less one as powerful and important as Secretary of Defense.Oddly, Trump’s perpetual critics don’t understand this, either because bias has made them stupid, or they were ignorant to begin with.
You know, I’m a pretty experienced and successful manager myself, having established and run quite a few organizations. I’m no business genius, hence my pathetic financial state, but my leadership record is better than most. I would jettison any subordinate who issued a letter like Mattis did, and if we had agreed on an exit date, I would move it up immediately. Any competent executive would. Any executive who would not is incompetent by definition, and pathetically weak and naive. I’d be shocked if Mattis thought he would be allowed to stay on after his letter went public. If he did, that was another good reason for him to leave, because he’s losing his edge.
Meanwhile, here’s Jake Tapper–now think about this: he’s about the least biased broadcast journalist!—fatuously tweeting…
I say this with love, Jake, as well as past respect that you have successfully eroded over the past year: Shut up about what you apparently don’t understand. Putting the #2 in charge after a Secretary resigns is the definition of a smooth transition; leaving in charge an openly rebellious and disloyal manager is not.
Such tweets may make your Dark Resistance Overlords at CNN happy with the cheap shot at Trump, but it makes your viewers dumber, and shows you to be a management ignoramus.
41 thoughts on “From The “Stop Making Me Defend President Trump” Files: Criticizing Trump For Following Management 101 Really Shows You To Be Ignorant As Well As Trump Deranged”
I am with you Jack !
And thanks for running EthicsAlarms.
Merry Christmas, Jack!
I’ve known someone who talked to the press after issuing a resignation. They were met at the door by security, and informed that they could come back at 5PM for their personal items in a box and their final check.
I’ve always presumed that is the way it would always be handled if you go public.
Exactly. I was appalled that Matti distributed 50 copies of his resignation letter.
Merry Christmas, Jack.
Thanks for the opportunity this space offers everyday.
It doesn’t matter what we think of the Syria withdrawal decision, we don’t have all the information, but this open rhetorical warfare against the President over the withdrawal of some 2000 troops from Syria and the subsequent resignation of a couple of senior officials is over the edge. I’ve seen and heard Trump supporters go over the edge on this one too. Get this through your head people, you do not have all the information that this decision was based on.
Note: I know that there is no love loss between Turkey and the Kurd’s, but the saber rattling rhetoric from Turkey about attacking the Kurds after the American troops have left is a bit over the edge and if they actually attack over the border it “might” be illegal under international law. I think there’s something more going on regarding the American troop pull out than is being publicized.
On another but similar note: I’ve heard some rumors of the possible drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. This drawdown has been coming for a while. This is not a withdrawal, it’s time to test the waters and see if the Afghanistan forces can stand their ground and hold their own. I have personal interest in this, a very close family member is heading back to Afghanistan soon and I don’t have any problem with this draw-down as long as there is enough US military forces left for rapid reaction forces when they are needed.
Jack wrote, “nobody’s visiting the blog anyway”
I’ve always been one to buck trends, I’m proud to be one of the nobody’s visiting the blog.
Me, too. Merry Christmas< everybody, but especially Jack.
I usually visit at weird times, and I’m actually having a few free moments before midnight services. Everywhere online will be slow for a day or two, and that is a good thing, to renew close relationships and community. Happy Christmas, everyone!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Jack, your site has become my “go-to” read every day. Even today and tomorrow. And speaking as an employment lawyer, the President’s action is exactly what I would counsel an employer client to do in these circumstances.
Of course! Thanks for the confirmation.
Thank you for this Blog. I’m frequently passing along information that only you can provide. Merry Christmas to you and your loyal followers.
“a resignation letter that implicitly attacked the President.”
Merry Christmas and thanks, to Jack, and all the denizens of Ethics Alarms (to use d_d’s great term). This place keeps me sane.
Thank you, OB.
A little Texas salute for a denizen of that particular Republic:
Merry Christmas, Jack, to you and yours. And a hearty Merry Christmas to all the EA commenters, who seem to always beat me to saying what I would have said in a comment, only usually better and more concisely. You all enhance my enjoyment of Jack’s blog and give me fresh perspectives on ethics topics daily.
Merry Christmas, Jim. I wish I had time to wish (with a tip-‘o-the-Hatlo hat to OB) ALL of the ‘denizens’ of EA that Season Greeting individually. I have enjoyed your comments. I also wish Jack a Merry Christmas. Haven’t always agreed with him, and we have come nose-to-nose a couple of times, but BOY!! have I learned some stuff from him. Looking forward to the New Year. Incidentally, I always look forward to seeing your comments. You have a unique perspective.
It seems to me you are being grossly unfair to Jim Mattis. The American people deserve to know why he resigned and he has told them. There is no explicit criticism of the President in the resignation letter. The implicit criticism is unavoidable. The President is ‘the boss’ but he is not the ‘owner’. The ‘People’ are the ‘shareholders’ and Mattis has a duty to them as well as to his ‘boss’.
You can’t surely be suggesting Mattis should just have resigned quietly, leaving Donald Trump complete free room to explain, truthfully or not?
I suspect Jim Mattis thought long and hard about his position and course of action. To my mind he deserves respect, appreciation and sympathy, whether you agree with his views or not.
That’s EXACTLY what he should have done, and what 99% of hos predecessors have done in the same situation. three of Obama’s four SOD’s were very critical of Obama, but not until they had left the post officially. Even that was too soon: they should have waited until after O had left HIS office.
But even if you justify Mattis’s letter, it doesn’t mean that its target should keep someone on who has essentially announced his contempt.
Interesting. We use the same words but with different meanings. I don’t see any ‘contempt’ in the letter, just profound disagreement politely expressed. I can’t imagine Mattis having any problem in going early, providing his deputy was consulted and agreed he didn’t need the longer handover period. Quite a relief I should think.
And I’m very surprised you don’t recognise what seems to me the profound duty of Mattis to disclose why he is going. To his credit he hasn’t to my knowledge been spouting destructive venom about the President (I am sure he could) and I really hope he doesn’t start now.
Andrew, you are right. Jack has, in my opinion, a severe grudge against conceding any points that might be slightly in keeping with justifying anything that would make a liberal happy
“Even if you justify Mattis’s letter” is probably the best you’re going to get.
Mattis can’t wait until after Trump leaves office if you buy that he’s a threat and the people need to know, that’s the worst thing Jack’s ever written in my opinion
okonheim wrote, “Mattis can’t wait until after Trump leaves office if you buy that he’s a threat and the people need to know…”
So you now have proven beyond any doubt that you think the ends justify the means just because you hate Trump and you’ll justify pretty much anything because you hate Trump. Your justification is ethically and morally bankrupt.
In my opinion; your false an hominems about Jack should get you permanently banned.
“…Mattis can’t wait until after Trump leaves office…”
Progressive resistance talking points and rationalizational blather.
Trump is accomplishing what he ran on, which is a threat to his opposition, who are used to the GOP running on lies, and thus not threatening the Elite Establishment’s (aka The Swamp) little power monopoly.
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “The American people deserve to know why he resigned and he has told them.”
No they don’t.
Andrew this isn’t whistle blowing regarding something the President did that’s illegal, this is nothing but a difference of opinion between a boss and a subordinate, the difference is that Mattis is military and a subordinate to the President of the United States and that makes his intentional disrespect of the President of the United States intentional bad conduct. Mattis deserved to be fired for his intentional bad conduct.
Sorry Zoltar. I need to clarify my argument with you.
First, I guess you and I, and Jack, and General Mattis and President Trump, all agree that : Mattis had every right to resign; and Trump had every right to bring forward his departure.
I hope we could also agree that Mattis has a ‘right’ to write his resignation letter and to distribute 50 copies to his staff. He did not divulge the nuclear attack codes or other secrets. He just made clear the key areas of difference (politely and respectfully on my reading), that drove his decision.
You maintain that Mattis was ‘wrong’ and you take issue with my assertion that : “The American people deserve to know why he resigned …” and you respond “No they don’t”.
As Jack has recently broadcast in a blast against okonheim: “Ethics isn’t about “rules,” it’s about principles and values.” I agree.
I agree also with you Zoltar, that this is not ‘whistle blowing ‘ territory. This is simply about what ‘the people’ deserve to know, and what the duty is of Mattis to ensure ‘they’ hear his point of view.
I understand, as Mattis no doubt does, the special issues relating to military discipline and the essential primacy of political authority. And I have no particular knowledge of tensions between Mattis and the President other than the resignation letter and potentially biased press reports. I also have the generally available record of his service.
Jack regularly rails against the press, holding that their bias constitutes a massive threat (the biggest ever?) against the US political system. So to my mind he should have welcomed the publication of the resignation letter, after satisfying himself that it probably wasn’t a fake generated by the dreadful biased media. And surely you Zoltar should have too?
I don’t engage with whether Mattis was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ to resign and his views on the importance of allies and international alignments. I am not close enough to have a worthwhile view, and I’ll keep my opinion to myself. I do however appreciate being able to hear his view expressed in his own words without media spin or politically convenient manipulation.
Wherever you stand, I suggest some attempt to think through Mattis’s position is worthwhile. He is a very senior and experienced military leader. He has engaged with the quite profound activity of persuading people to put their lives at risk for their country. He looks out now on a world in which the assertions and undertakings (‘promises’) he has been party to may not be carried through. Please note, he is not complaining; he knows such frustrations come with the job.
Now Zoltar to your most thought provoking assertion: “No they don’t”; the ‘people’ do not have a ‘right’ to know why Mattis resigned, and Mattis therefore has no ‘duty’ to tell them.
One of the clear ‘facts’ the people will have before them in 2020 is the extent to which the President has been able to lead. No doubt there will be plenty of talk about how he has been undermined by the biased press etc. But it will be on the record that he was unable to maintain the confidence and support of General Mattis, together with a first person outline explanation.
Of course this may well be quite damaging to the President’s re-election prospects. But nothing in the letter is ‘disrespectful’ or challenging of the President’s authority: – quite the contrary. ‘We’ now know simply there is a disagreement, and voters can vote accordingly.
To my mind Zoltar your position supports the onward slide into ever greater manipulation of news and information and the deep undermining of the democratic ideal. The availability of first hand reports, including ‘why I resigned’ letters surely provides the factual reporting you and Jack call for, as an antidote to biased opinion and convenient lies.
I’m really curios about this. Why, exactly, do the American people have a right to know why he resigned? If I had resigned from my job at a State Hospital (I did), does the City of San Antonio and all of it’s denizens have a right to know why? Honest question.
The timing of a resignation is usually clear enough, and was in this case.
The simple answer (to why do the people have a ‘right’ to know) is that they (“we the people”) are the source of all authority and legitimacy. The President is the current hired (by the people) chief executive to run the country but he doesn’t own it. The President has limited delegated authority (via the Constitution), allowing him for instance to hire or fire Mattis and to tell him what to do, but not unilaterally to build a Wall to block the neighbours. (Interestingly in all the complaint about Mattis’s supposed ‘bad conduct’ there is no claim that he was disobedient.)
Such a ‘system’ to my mind imposes a considerable duty on ‘me the person’ to play my necessary part : principally to vote responsibly and to pay attention to what is going on. As hopefully I have embedded with my children : if we care, then we must support the political process, protect the Constitution, and perhaps even be prepared to stand for office.
A key frailty of our ‘system’ concerns our (‘the peoples’) access to reliable unbiassed reporting. How can we play our required role if we are regularly misinformed and manipulated? There will always be a temptation for the President to take control of the news and any related debate, as per the Orwellian nightmare, and Nixon experience. Constitutionally reinforced freedom of the press is a vital bulwark. And the now near zero cost of uncensured communication across the world (eg this blog) should be very positive.
But I understand Jack’s continuing distress about what he sees as unrelenting liberal press bias.
It is up to all of us (‘me the person’) to take responsibility for communicating anything we see as vital to ‘we the people’, and to do it in as constructive a way as possible.
Mattis has indentified issues of principle which he views as so important that he must resign, and circulate his resignation letter. As Zoltar correctly points out : “Having the “right” to do something doesn’t make what was done right”. Yes, but Mattis is massively better informed than I or Zoltar (?) are about all of this, and unless we have better information, or see some conflict of interest or corruption, we should not dismiss his judgment.
Zoltar and Jack seem to think the ethical course of action was for Mattis to resign and then quietly slink away. ‘We the people’ would presumably find out that Mattis had resigned, and tune to our favourite news channel to find out why. More painfully, Mattis’s staff would have been left to speculate: was it another sex scandal or bad health …..? You surely can’t view that as a better scenario.
As per your specific question dragin_dragon, it was your responsibility to decide who if anyone you should tell about your resignation from the State Hospital and what you should say. My point is simply that you did have some duties to consider your colleagues, the patients and the community that had financed the hospital, as well as to your boss. In the vast mass of situations there is nothing much to think about. Just occasionally it can get very hard.
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “we should not dismiss his judgment.”
I’m not dismissing his judgement as to why he resigned, I’m stating outright that how he resigned was improper and he deserved to be fired as consequence to his choice to make his resignation public; I’ve stated multiple times my reasoning.
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “Zoltar… seem to think the ethical course of action was for Mattis to resign and then quietly slink away.”
Correct me if I’m wrong and I’ve forgotten something I wrote, but I don’t think I’ve used the word ethical at all in my comments regarding his decision to resign, if he believed it was time to resign I have absolutely no problem with that. What I’ve focused on is how he chose to resign.
Mattis releasing the resignation letter to anyone other than his immediate superior wasn’t professional, it didn’t follow standards of protocol regarding chain of command, and it was intentionally disrespectful of his superior – the President of the United States. This was bad conduct and not a good way for him to leave, he tarnished his departure himself.
He should have presented his letter of resignation to the president and continued to be professional about all aspects of his position until his last day in the position; after that, I believe he would have been a private citizen, no longer contractually obligated to the military, or beholding to the President of the United States in any way, at that time he would have the freedom to share non-restricted details about his position and resignation.
You’re right of course. Who I tell is, indeed, my business. But all those words do not answer the original question. Why do the people have a right to know why he resigned?
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “I hope we could also agree that Mattis has a ‘right’ to write his resignation letter and to distribute 50 copies to his staff.”
Having the “right” to do something doesn’t make what was done right.
The resignation was between Mattis and his immediate superior the President of the United States, no one else. What Mattis did was quite intentionally done. It’s apparent that it was done to intentionally sow discord in the ranks and gain support for Mattis’ position as opposed to President Trump’s position. It was unprofessional military behavior for Mattis to share details of his resignation with anyone but the President himself, it wasn’t following military decorum, it was intentionally disrespectful of the President of the United States and the chain of command, and it was intentional bad conduct. Anyone in the military that engages in such sow discord behavior has earned public rebuke and being fired from the position and maybe discharged. As I said before if any person under Mattis did the same thing to Mattis they would have been removed from the position immediately, and busted significant rank, and likely discharged from the military because of the high ranking nature of the position; to put it bluntly, there would have been HELL to pay. A military leader does not intentionally poison the chain of command to his/her subordinates and/or the public, it’s completely unacceptable behavior in all ranks of the military and if it happens that person must be taken to task immediately and in a very visible way!
There is absolutely no ambiguity here; what Mattis did was wrong for many reasons. The President of the United States had two choices; first choice was to ignore the bad conduct and risk future possible problems because he ignored it; second choice was to make an example of Mattis showing everyone in the ranks that that type of bad conduct from subordinates will not be tolerated. The President made the right choice.
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “He did not divulge the nuclear attack codes or other secrets. He just made clear the key areas of difference (politely and respectfully on my reading), that drove his decision.”
Andrew Wakeling wrote, “To my mind Zoltar your position supports the onward slide into ever greater manipulation of news and information and the deep undermining of the democratic ideal.”
I think that’s an extrapolation into absurdity. You have no solid basis for that.
Nobody’s visiting the blog, huh? I’ll have you know I was here and ready to go at midnight. Waited and waited at the edges of the Big White Space, but Nothing. Not my fault you didn’t post until an hour later. Merry Christmas yesterday, Jack. After all that trouble getting the decorations up on that tree, hope you get to keep it going for awhile.
There’s no ethical rule against any sort of demonization. Bob Corker needs the prefix “Trump hater” and you believe if we side with Mattis here, we’re blinded with bias. I view Mattis as patriotic: Noise needs to be made that Trump goes above and beyond in terms of incompetence. If he just quietly left, he would not have made as much of an impact in turning minds against the president’s agenda which is better for the country. Trump is all about winning the PR war so that’s the game he wants to play.
I do think that there might be legitimate reasons why Mattis had to stay for an orderly transition though I can see the case that it would have been a very rocky tenure. It still might have been better for the overall department and I think most people sensibly know that whether Trump could take the hit to his ego of working with a guy who made him look bad had more weight in his mind than the good of the country which is how Trump always makes decisions.
Again, did you cover Trump’s firing of Andrew McCabe as a f— you. McCabe (at either the FBI or DOJ, I can’t remember) was set to retire and he fired him the weekend before he left just to rob him of his pension. I can’t think of a bigger asshole move than what Trump did that weekend but I’d be curious to hear the other side of the story.
I’d suggest checking the glossary and other background material above and to the left. Ethics isn’t about “rules,” it’s about principles and values. I’ll pay attention to your comments when you have some clue about the topic.
No, McCabe was not “robbed of his pension.” And he was fired for cause. Don’t repeat false partisan talking points here (or anywhere.) You get one mulligan.
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote, “I view Mattis as patriotic”
No email@example.com Mattis was not being patriotic; in military terms (Mattis is military) Mattis is intentionally being disrespectful of a superior and he damn well knows it – it’s intentional bad conduct. If one of Mattis’ high ranking immediate subordinates had done the same thing to Mattis, Mattis would have him removed from his position in a heartbeat, likely prosecute the person for Article 89 of the UCMJ, and likely discharged for bad conduct at such a high level or certainly busted down to standing guard over the rubber dog shit in the hold of a Chinese cargo ship. Trump had every right to fire him, if you don’t understand that that’s your problem.
Just because you and others choose to think differently because you hate Trump doesn’t mean what you think is correct.
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote, “If he just quietly left, he would not have made as much of an impact in turning minds against the president’s agenda which is better for the country.”
So it’s all about turning the minds against Trump; now you’re sounding just like a blinded ends justify the means anti-Trumper showing off your Political Antiology (look it up). It’s people like you that are being blatantly unpatriotic political hacks trying to destroy the core values that’s made the USA the leader of the free world in an effort to rid yourself of a President you hate; but of course people like you don’t give a damn if you destroy the USA as long as Trump is taken down. Screw you and your foolish mentality.
Note: You stating that “turning minds against the president’s agenda… is better for the country” is propaganda bull shit and shows readers how your ends justify the means thinking has steered you towards moral bankruptcy.
email@example.com wrote, “did you cover Trump’s firing of Andrew McCabe as a f— you.”
That’s an utterly foolish deflection.The firing of McCabe has got nothing to do with Mattis. Both McCabe and Mattis earned being fired, timing and what they lose is completely irrelevant.
firstname.lastname@example.org when you find yourself digging yourself into a rhetorical hole…
email@example.com appears to be a Progressive troll; someone prove me wrong.
Well, those quotes and others do risk banning based on the Ethics Alarms “idiot rule.”
McCabe, by being fired (for lying, among other reasons), did NOT lose his pension. He was just prevented from earning his full pension at early retirement (at 55)—you know like the vast majority of employees–and will have to wait until he’s retirement age, 65. The Horror. Oko’s version was an MSNBC/CNN lie, now thoroughly debunked.