Is this administration falling apart at the seams? Some top officials, employed at Trump’s digression, seem to be trying to run their own show, unafraid to contradict the president publicly. It is unheard of to see as much blatant insubordination towards the president as we have recently seen against Trump.
It’s not unusual to have powerful officials at war among themselves, or in the presidential doghouse. It’s downright bizarre to have them publicly undercut the president, without fear of consequence.
The new measure of power in Washington is how far you can go criticizing the president at whose pleasure you serve. The hangers-on and junior players must do it furtively and anonymously. Only a principal like Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson or James Mattis can do it out in the open and get away with it.
First, it was chief economic adviser Cohn saying in an interview that the administration—i.e., Donald J. Trump—must do a better job denouncing hate groups. Then, it was Secretary of State Tillerson suggesting in a stunning interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that the rest of the government speaks for American values, but not necessarily the president. Finally, Secretary of Defense Mattis contradicted without a moment’s hesitation a Trump tweet saying we are done talking with North Korea.
In a more normal time, in a more normal administration, any of these would be a firing offense (although, in Mattis’ defense, he more accurately stated official U.S. policy than the president did). Tillerson, in particular, should have been told before he was off the set of Fox News on Sunday that he was only going to be allowed to return to the seventh floor of the State Department to clean out his desk.
Globalist Gary, as his Trumpist enemies style him, is invested with considerable market power, more than any political official besides the president himself. Tillerson is eminently replaceable, but his immediate sacking would be too destabilizing at a fragile moment. If Mattis were to leave, it would cause a freak-out on Capitol Hill and around the world. Never has a president had so many un-fireable subordinates.
Mattis and Co. obviously consider themselves the president’s minders more than his underlings. But the least they could do is not air this patronizing attitude. They are impressive and accomplished people, but no one elected any of them president of the United States. They don’t do the country any favors by highlighting Trump’s weakness and by making it obvious that the American government doesn’t speak with one voice. (via: Politico)
Do you agree that Trump’s team has shown him disrespect and undermined Trump? If they are, or appear to be, it certainly does not project the right image to American citizens or other nations.