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The Source of Trump’s Troubles: Personnel Is Policy

CHQ Chairman Richard Viguerie on CSPAN

 

The recent Twitter attacks emanating from the White House against the conservative heroes of the House Freedom Caucus have baffled and alarmed conservatives.

However, the tweets shouldn’t be a big surprise.

Personnel is policy. So, these tweets are an entirely predictable result of President Trump’s failure to staff his White House, Cabinet and sub-cabinet posts, and his political operation with reliable limited government constitutional conservatives who believe in the Trump campaign agenda.

What’s so alarming and frustrating to conservatives is that it has begun to appear that, while the President has many good instincts on our issues, he somehow expects to run the Trump administration without any actual Trump supporters being brought in to run the government on his behalf.

We told CHQ readers about John Boehner confidant JohnDeStefano, now Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel.

Johnny DeStafano’s job as Director of White House Personnel isn’t to hire Trump’s loyal outsiders or check the SAT scores of potential hires to make sure the top applicants get the jobs, it isn’t to vet them for their security clearances or potential conflicts of interest – it is to funnel Capitol Hill staffers loyal to the congressional Republican establishment into key jobs in the executive branch.

This problem started in the White House when the President appointed establishment Republican Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and liberal Democrat and former president of Goldman Sachs Gary Cohn as National Economic Council Director.

Priebus is obviously out of his depth and his only real qualification for the job to begin with was his perceived ability, based on his home state connection, to manage relations with Speaker Paul Ryan.

However, instead of pushing Ryan to advance an agenda based on candidate Donald Trump’s campaign promises, what has happened is Priebus is managing Trump on behalf of Ryan – who never supported any aspect of Trump’s winning campaign agenda.

Cohn, who was expected to hold a similar position in a presumptive Hillary Clinton administration, has emerged as a key anti-conservative power center inside the West Wing and the locus of influence for Wall Street globalists and those who want to keep legal immigration and H1B visas at their current or higher levels – significant deviations from then-candidate Trump’s campaign rhetoric.

Cohn’s influence is seen in the fact that the President’s first big economic deregulation order was not a supply-side economic growth order, but an insider sop to Wall Street to loosen financial regulation and review the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule for brokerage advisors. As CNBC pointed out, Cohn was there for the signing and lauded the moves in a series of interviews.

How that order helps the blue-collar voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin who helped put President Trump in the White House get back to work remains obscure, but it was great for all the Wall Street types who supported Hillary Clinton.

And there is much the same problem at the Pentagon and at the Department of State.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has made headlines repeatedly with his penchant for trying to hire or pushing for the nomination of liberal Democrats and Hillary Clinton and Obama supporters for key Pentagon positions.

First, Gen. Mattis flirted with appointing Michele Flournoy, formerly the third-ranking civilian in the Pentagon under President Barack Obama, and the person expected to run the Pentagon had Hillary Clinton won the presidency, as his deputy.

He also pushed for some names who hail from Never Trump backgrounds, including Mary Beth Long, an official in George W. Bush’s Pentagon who signed an anti-Trump letter.

Then he wanted Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson as his Undersecretary.

During the Obama years Patterson was Ambassador to Egypt and a prominent supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Trump should designate as a terrorist organization.

As part of this guerrilla war with the White House Mattis is blocking some rock-star conservative talent that the White House slated for appointments at the Pentagon.

As a result, of the 53 Senate confirmed appointments at the Pentagon Mattis is the only Trump nominee in place.

While a few nominations have been forwarded to the Senate – none of them are the conservative rock stars who were the Red Team opposition during the Obama years. So, right now, every top position at the Pentagon, other than Mattis, is held by an acting career appointee or an Obama holdover.

At the Department of State it is, in many respects, even worse.

On the Department Policy Planning staff in Rex Tillerson’s Department of State is Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council and a trusted Obama aide who once worked for the Iranian regime lobbying group, the National Iranian-American Council.  

Nowrouzzadeh is now one of the individuals in charge of Iran policy planning at the State Department and oversees Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at a State Department presumably charged with dismantling the disastrous Obama policies she helped formulate on behalf of the mullahs.

Then there’s Yael Lempert. She's a pro-Palestinian diplomat who led Obama’s war on Israel and held the Israel portfolio on the National Security Council during Barack Obama’s last two years as president. As a career diplomat, she remains in place at the NSC.

Brett H. McGurk, who coordinated Obama’s directionless campaign against the Islamic State, also remains in place at the Department of State.

And the top of the list of Obama holdovers at State is Thomas A. Shannon Jr., who rose to the No. 3 post in Obama’s State Department and is still there.

How President Trump expects to reassert American leadership with diplomats who spent their peak career years dismantling it and apologizing for it defies the imagination.

Unfortunately, this personnel problem isn’t limited to President Trump's government appointments; it has also infected the President’s outside political operation as well.

While the President has taken a daily pounding in the establishment media, his outside political operation, America First Policies, is moribund.

Ground floor Trump operative and grassroots organizer extraordinaire David Bossie and Brad Parscale, who ran the Trump campaign’s digital program, have been frozen in political battles with operatives loyal to Reince Priebus.

And the future there doesn’t look good.

Priebus acolyte and deputy chief of staff in the White House Katie Walsh, allegedly forced out of her role there for leaking, is now going to work at America First Policies along with Alex Stroman, a former Republican National Committee official.

And in keeping with the RNC’s policy of keeping the money and power in the family, the group has been receiving advice from Mike Shields, who is engaged to Ms. Walsh. Shields by the way, previously served as chief of staff to Reince Priebus at the RNC and then ran a super PAC and nonprofit that backed House Republicans, bringing President Trump’s problems right back to where they started in this article – Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan and their minions. 

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Personnel is Policy

Richard, your comments regarding his selection of close-in advisors and controllers are absolutely correct. Never did Prebius deserve a position this close to the President. He and Ryan and other establishment republicans are really never-Trumpers. They don't care if our culture and economy are destroyed. They are supported by internationalists and establishment republicans who believe they can come back from a destructive Trump administration in 4 years. God Save The Republic.

Running Trump's government

To be charitable maybe Trump doesn't have the experience to pick the right people or just perhaps he used his supporters to get elected and never believed in their principles in the first place.

Trump's personnel experience

President Trump has a lifetime of experience picking the right people to run his businesses, but as a political novice, he seems to be taking the wrong people's advice. My question is, has the information in this column been brought to President Trump's attention? Or is he ignoring it (hopefully not for long) in favor of Washington insiders with no sense of loyalty who talk a good game.