Alexander Nazaryan wrote the book The Best People: Trump’s Cabinet and the Siege on Washington. He said that Donald Trump has a hard time finding people to work for him. There still are over 100 important openings for key people in his administration. No wonder the president has trouble attracting staff, given the way he treats his people.
Trump was angry at his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. He complained about a time she was in a meeting trying to keep The Washington Post’s associate editor Bob Woodward from harvesting quotes for his latest book Fear. Clearly bitter, POTUS said:
‘Kellyanne didn’t tell me he asked 10 times for a meeting. I wish she did, I’m sure it would have been a little bit of a different book. You should have told me. Honestly, you should have told me.’
Given that her husband has been an outspoken critic of her boss and how difficult Trump has been as an employer, it has been a puzzle why she stays. Nazaryan said that Conway was in the meeting with him and the president.
‘Conway just sat there, taking it as she has doubtlessly taken it from the boss many times before. You couldn’t last in this administration unless you were willing to take it daily, take with a smile and a “yessir,” take it even while knowing that much of the country loathed you, considered you complicit in one of the great political crimes in American history. And you would take it in this way that Conway was taking it now only if you truly believed in the man who was giving it, in his vision for the country. Unless, of course, there was something in it for you. There was that too sometimes.’.
While Nazaryan was interviewing him, the president picked up a sheet of paper and started reading:
- ‘Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “has been fantastic.”
- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao: “has been great.”
- Labor Secretary Alex Acosta: “has been great.”
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson: “has done a very good job.”
- Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: “fantastic.”
- Energy Secretary Rick Perry: “has been great.”
- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “he’s been great.
- Attorney General William Barr: “will be … really outstanding.”’
White House Chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said:
‘People are liking him a lot. I think he’s doing a good job. I’m very happy with him.’
The president signed a clipped and stern ethics order. Its purpose was to halt the revolving door policy for people ranging from lobbyists to politicians to lesser-known individuals. Then, he turned around and granted waivers that allowed his political appointees to violate that same ruling. Nazaryan noted:
‘ Promising to drain the swamp, he merely stirred its murky surface.’
When the author spoke to Trump about draining the swamp, the man who occasionally sits in the Oval Office, was not pleased.
‘When I confronted him with this fact, Trump bristled. (and responded) We need certain people to run the country well, at the top level. We have granted waivers. How often do we grant waivers? Have you seen? Not too much, right?’
As he rose to go, Trump said:
‘Get the hell out of here, now. All right. Good. Have a good time.’