When Donald Trump ran for the White House, he insisted that his lack of experience in politics and his complete disdain for the details (or even the broad strokes) of policy were not only not a problem, they were a key reason why he’d be such a terrific president. The system needed to be shaken up, and it couldn’t be done by someone locked inside it.
This is inane. If you don’t like the way your mechanic is keeping your car running, you hire a better mechanic…
You don’t hire a pastry chef or a lawyer or a journalist. Incompetence and ignorance and lack of qualifications do not automatically combine into the ideal person to improve an imperfect government.
As the New York Times reports Monday, National Security Council staff “get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls.” Then there’s this:
Two people with direct access to the White House leadership said Mr. Flynn was surprised to learn that the State Department and Congress play a pivotal role in foreign arms sales and technology transfers. So it was a rude discovery that Mr. Trump could not simply order the Pentagon to send more weapons to Saudi Arabia — which is clamoring to have an Obama administration ban on the sale of cluster bombs and precision-guided weapons lifted — or to deliver bigger weapons packages to the United Arab Emirates.
Well I’m sure he knew how to look it up in the manual. There is a manual, isn’t there?
The truth is that no president has ever needed an experienced, capable staff more than this one. Trump’s own ignorance and lack of concern about policy and the bureaucratic details of governing meant that he came into office incapable of offering his staff clear direction on both what they should do and how things should run. In that vacuum, he needed people who could execute policy with a minimum of bumbling, and that takes at least some who understand the system.
Instead, he stocked the upper echelon of his staff with people without any government experience. Look at his closest advisers. Bannon was in the Navy in the 1970s and 1980s, but otherwise has never worked in government. Reince Priebus has never worked in government. Jared Kushner has never worked in government. Kellyanne Conway has never worked in government. Miller has worked in Congress, but not in the executive branch. The Cabinet, too, is filled with officials who have no government experience.
The result is an administration interested in “disruption” which in practice is going to create a lot of destruction.
Destruction is what they want – “starve the beast.”
Then there are the leaks.
Leakers have told reporters that Trump watches huge amounts of cable news, that he called Flynn in the middle of the night so Flynn could clarify whether it’s better to have a strong dollar or a weak dollar, that he interrupted a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin so someone could explain to him what the New START treaty was, that he was unaware that an executive order he signed had put Bannon on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council, that he threatened to send troops into Mexico in pursuit of “bad hombres,” and that he demands that briefing papers be kept to “a single page, with lots of graphics and maps,” among other things.
While Trump’s top advisers go on television and describe him as a kind of living god with infallible judgment and superhuman accomplishments (“We have a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration,” said Miller on Sunday), those a level or two below are rushing to the media to warn that their boss is a complete nincompoop.
We know. We can tell.