“Mr. President, why do you keep hiring people that you believe are wackos and liars?”

Paula Reid, CBS News at White House, 6-18-20

Trump has called Jon Bolton a wacko and liar after Bolton’s new tell all book was leaked. In it, Bolton condemns Trump for playing footsie with China, asking the Chinese Prime Minister to help him win the 2020 election among other things. And for failing to listen to his foreign policy advisors and for being ignorant of even basic foreign policy issues (like if Great Britain has nuclear weapons).  

GOP Senators, scared of Fox news and the brainwashed base, refuse to criticize their Supreme Leader in public. But according to a report in the Hill, in private many are saying that they fully believe Bolton’s account. And, as noted in this paper’s recent column “Niece’s book accuses Trump of hubris and willful ignorance,” more criticism from folks in the know is on the way. 

There are many reasons for the situation. Trump is mercurial and has proven that he has no loyalty to those who have worked for him, so underlings are hesitant to follow him. He has repeatedly left them out in the cold when they have stuck their necks out to defend his irrational statements and policies. 

Many are returning the favor by openly criticizing him after their departure from his employ or government. Trump’s ridiculous response has often been to insult the people that in many cases he himself hired or appointed. 

Here’s a partial list of Trump’s revolving door: 

Right to left. Top row: Michael Cohen, Reince Priebus, John F. Kelly, Mick Mulvaney, Gen. H. R. McMaster; bottom row: Jim Mattis, Gordon Sondland, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Rex Tillerson – created by DonkeyHotey
Right to left. top row: Michael Cohen, Reince Priebus, John F. Kelly, Mick Mulvaney, Gen. H. R. McMaster; bottom row: Jim Mattis, Gordon Sondland, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Rex Tillerson – (DonkeyHotey)
  • Michael Cohen – Trump once stated Cohen, who had been his attorney and confidant for 12 years, was “a very fine person” and an “honest, honorable lawyer.”(McClatchyDC.com). He now describes him very differently saying that Cohen’s February 2019 Congressional testimony was “95% lies.” (Time.com
  • Reince Priebus – The RNC head when Trump ran and his first Chief of Staff, Trump humiliated him into resigning. Further, Trump ensured that Priebus would have limited authority by bringing in Steve Bannon, his strategist, to be “equal partners” with Preibus (TheGuardian.com). Per Republican consultant Rick Wilson “He (Priebus) acts like a battered spouse.” (TheAtlantic.com)  
  • Gen. John Kelly – Trump tweeted “a great American … and a great leader” upon his appointment as Chief of Staff. Now, Trump tweets: “he was not…in my inner-circle, was totally exhausted by the job, and in the end just slinked away into obscurity.”(TheHill.com
  • Mick Mulvaney – As acting Chief of Staff, his strange”Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” statement in defense of Trump’s unconscionable Ukraine call and actions sealed his fate. 
  • Gen. HR McMaster – “A man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience” perTrump, he was the first National Security Advisor. He only lasted a year after clashing with Trump on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump’s sharing of classified information with the Russians and the Afghanistan build-up. 
  • Gen. James Mattis – Per Trump, when Mattis was appointed Defense Secretary, “one of our great, great generals”. But in October 2019 after he had left the administration, Trump called him “the world’s most overrated general” (MilitaryTimes.com).  
  • Ambassador Gordon Sondland – He gave the Trump campaign $1 million. Trump said he was “a really good man and great American” before his Congressional testimony regarding Trump withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. Afterwards, although Trump had many conversations with Sonderland about the Ukraine, he said: “This is not a man I know well…He actually supported other candidates. Not me…” 
  • AG Jeff Sessions – The first Senator to support Trump in his Presidential bid, Trump said he liked him and “I have a man who is respected by everybody here, greatly respected” and  “He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great Attorney General” (Al.com).  Now, Trump Tweets that Sessions “Recused yourself … and ran for the hills. You had no courage and ruined many lives.” And that Sessions did not have the mental qualifications to be AG, although Trump appointed him. 
  • Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein – In the summer of 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump said that their relationship is “fantastic, we have a great relationship.” But in November of that year, Trump retweeted a meme showing his adversaries in jail, including Rosenstein as well as Comey, Mueller, Podesta, Obama, and the Clintons (BusinessInsider.com). 
  • Sec. of State Rex Tillerson – Once, Trump declared him to be a “good man”. But after his departure and statements about Trump being undisciplined and someone who wanted to break the law, Trump’s tune changed, saying Tillerson was “dumb as a rock” and lazy as hell” (USAToday.com). 

The real wacko should be clear from his record. 


Image Credit: the feature caricatures of Michael Cohen, Reince Priebus, Gen. John F. Kelly, Mick Mulvaney, Gen. H. R. McMaster, Jim Mattis, Gordon Sondland, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Rex Tillerson were created by DonkeyHotey © 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.