With the vast majority of conservatives and would-be Republican voters focused on the seemingly one-sided horse race for the top job thus far, very little time and energy has been
devoted to the “what happens now?” quandary the victor will confront as early as the day after election day in 2024.
Simply put, the president-elect and his team will need to assemble an administration in a relatively short amount of time. No problem, it’s been done before, dozens of times, you say? There will be a transition team already in place, correct? Many reason that all or most past Republican personnel will be primed and ready to reassume their roles within days of being reassured that there are available offices.
Don’t expect any help from the defeated Team Biden or the enraged band of Democrats currently engaged in an unofficial search and destroy mission to snuff out the few remaining vestiges of freedom and liberty under the old traditional America. Somewhat ironically, Donald Trump has re-adopted his “Make America Great Again” slogan from 2016, most likely reasoning that senile president Joe Biden, like his Democrat predecessor before him (Barack Obama), has trampled on and trashed the country conservatives knew and loved all our lives.
Assembling personnel will be a monumental mission, and not one that can be taken lightly or for granted. Even assuming that the new president would want to keep any of the Biden hands in place, the mass resignation will morph into an avalanche as Christmastime approaches. At no other time in the country’s history will people be so anxious to get out – which could be considered a good thing.
Which begs the question: Where will President-elect Trump get the bodies to do the work? With the 45th president’s penchant for savaging former soldiers who left his MAGA army, it’s highly unlikely that any of them would be willing to sign-up again. The Republican establishment won’t be any help, nor would principled conservatives want them to be. Trump has campaigned on a platform of cleaning house, so longtime Washingtonians won’t be eligible.
Given the volume of news reports – and the less-than-flattering first-hand testimonials from those who served Trump the first time around, will anyone want to work for him again?
“Former President Donald Trump is known for his thin skin and his propensity for vengeance. Working with Mr. Trump often means you adhere to the first rule of Fight Club: You don’t talk about Fight Club. But as the power of the vindictive ex-president who enjoys doling out vicious nicknames wanes, some former staffers — especially those whom Mr. Trump has berated in the past — are firing back...
“After his arraignment, another ex-Trumper hit the former president where it hurts. ‘This is the time that the Republican Party needs to ask themselves, are they going to continue to nominate poor-quality candidates to appease Donald Trump?’ former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin said on CNN. ‘If you want the Republican Party to thrive, we’ve got to just finally speak out and say, ‘This man is a loser, he lost 2020,’’ she said.
“This is only the beginning. The former president, who celebrated his 77th birthday on June 14, will lash out at anyone who crosses him. The problem: He’s all bark now, no bite. And Rule No. 1 of Trump Club doesn’t matter anymore. No one is afraid of the guy who lost to a candidate who half the time doesn’t even know where he is.”
Ouch? There’s been lots of this kind of talk going around since, well, 2015 and 2016 as the New York outsider traveled through the traditional vetting process for presidential candidates. Most contenders may have had a few years in the public spotlight to try and explain away, but for Trump, it was about thirty years’ worth. The commenters included legions of former employees, a Miss Universe pageant winner (Alicia Machado, remember her?), and, of course, establishment media figures who’d dealt with Trump at some point.
Everyone had formed an opinion and the establishment media talkers were mostly interested in those who would go on the record to harangue Trump.
The diverse collection’s opinions and tales seemingly painted a picture of Trump as being very difficult to work with, incredibly demanding, playing favorites, sometimes cold, aloof and uncaring, volatile, hot tempered and… different every day. Trump could be charming one moment and stabbing you in the back (verbally) in the next.
Trump’s style clearly isn’t for everyone. And those who go to work for him at any time have heard the rumors about his daily habits, so it’s not exactly as though anyone should be shocked if the information is true. Lots of high-level politicians acquire reputations as notoriously testy and challenging. Current vice president cackling Kamala Harris is legendary for her eagerness to point fingers and make donkeys of staff members.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, is said to be the same back-slappin’ good guy that he plays on TV. I’ve talked with Secret Service agents who’d been assigned to Biden as vice president and they said he’s not a difficult man to handle as long as you don’t mind frequent trips to Delaware, with sometimes little or no notice. Oh, and that Hunter enjoyed exalted status with his dad.
But is Curl right, that no one will step up to work for Trump’s administration since they’ve seen that, one day, they may be on the other end of one of Trump’s barbs? In his opinion piece, Curl cited former Trump chief-of-staff John Kelly saying “He’s scared s——less,” (concerning Trump’s recent arrest). They’re speaking out in public without fear of retribution, in other words.
The Editors of the Washington Examiner made a similar argument about the former president being beyond consideration because there could be a lack of qualified people stepping up to serve the next time, knowing that their boss’s loyalty only goes one way. “Many of the people Trump attacked, such as former Attorney General William Barr, could have been strong allies in defeating the deep state and draining the swamp. Now, though, nobody of their quality will consider working for Trump in a second term, which likely would be filled with the sort of third-raters who populated the final, incompetent days of his previous administration.”
Can you see Trump bringing in “third-rate” staffers? Where would he look for them, the clean-up crew at Domino’s Pizza?
Are such observations fair, much less accurate? I would imagine there will be more than enough America-loving conservatives willing to “take one for the team” and deal with Trump’s quirks in order to make headway on turning the country around. Most of us have had superiors we didn’t see eye-to-eye with and had no respect for at some point, and yet we toiled on because we had to. In the Trump instance, the purpose is much higher and the cause more worthwhile.
Trump didn’t do himself any favors a few weeks back when he very publicly criticized former administration spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany simply because she now works at Fox News and purportedly read incorrect poll numbers (according to Trump). As I’ve argued before, Trump’s already got quite a reputation for lashing out, he didn’t need to enhance it by taking on McEnany, a cancer-survivor mom of young children.
Trump’s defenders pass off these slights as Trump being Trump and cite his stellar record of success throughout his life as reason enough to believe he knows what he’s doing. It all seems like so much white noise in the background, since his haters already hate him to the nth degree and Republicans are used to it. But will he eventually wear out his welcome?
Historically speaking, there have been other instances where turnover severely impacted a president’s ability to set effective policy. For example, historians often cite George Washington’s first cabinet as containing the greatest collection of minds that the nation ever had at one time (including Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton), and his second cabinet, the worst. Several of Washington’s secretaries were embroiled in the haughty politics of the time and either didn’t wish to serve longer or were asked to resign by Washington himself.
Washington was like Trump in one respect: he was sensitive to the loyalties of those around him and didn’t look kindly whenever the Virginian felt he was being stabbed in the back by his underlings. The main difference between the two being that Washington didn’t go to the press to air his grievances. Instead, the first president simply stopped talking with the perceived perpetrators. It’s hard to imagine now, but Washington and Jefferson barely spoke after the latter refused to serve in Washington’s second cabinet. The rest is… history.
Great leaders aren’t always loved by their hires. Trump has just had more than his share of former workers who seek the spotlight by digging into him. The media is happy to give them a forum for their stories, and Trump’s celebrity guarantees the news outlets viewers and readers.
Trump’s personality obviously won’t keep him from winning another term as president, but it might keep him from being a success once back in office. Here’s thinking there will be plenty of people who will vote for him despite the gossip, and plenty of capable folks willing to serve in the new administration when the time comes. The rest is just speculation – and sensation.
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