This week, Attorney General Bill Barr attracted attention for an interview with ABC News in which he criticized the president’s obsessive tweeting about Justice Department operations. He claimed that the tweets make his job “hard,” and now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) himself, who’s also hardly anywhere near an ordinary Trump critic, has joined in with support for the attorney general’s perspective. It’s a wonder when something Trump does even gets to these two, which well exemplifies just how extremely out of line that Trump’s behavior has really been.
Asked on Fox News about Barr’s comments, McConnell suggested:
‘If the attorney general says it’s getting in the way of doing his job, maybe the president should listen to the attorney general.’
If McConnell is so concerned about paying attention to the rule of law, perhaps he should have done something other than speed through an acquittal for the president without a fair Senate impeachment trial.
Trump has rarely shown any actual propensity for listening to those either in his inner circle or outside of it who have any kind of criticism for him. Just in recent days, he soured on yet another former administration official of his who had dared to diverge from the only barely metaphorical “Trump is great!” chants. He ripped into former White House chief of staff John Kelly as supposedly incompetent and in over his head as a White House official. It’s not as though many observers are keen to take the guy seriously who said that he’s “never understood wind” as the authority on whether the retired general (Kelly) was “in over his head.”
Originally, in the ABC interview in question, Barr had commented of the president’s propensity for public meltdowns:
‘I have a problem with some of the tweets. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me. I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases.’
The tweets seem likely to come up in Barr’s soon upcoming Congressional testimony. He has apparently agreed — for now at least — to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, although that leaves him and the rest of the Trump team plenty of time to come up with some ever so convenient excuse for him to not show up.
Considering how quickly the president tends to discard people when he’s no longer in need of their services, that even leaves plenty of time for Trump to sour on Barr.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dubiously claimed:
‘The president wasn’t bothered by the comments at all.’
And current Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien added, discussing Barr:
‘He’s a fantastic member of the cabinet, he has a very strong relationship with the president.’
Sureeee. That’s what they said about the last guy who dared to diverge ever so slightly from Trump and then got kicked out. (It’s happened repeatedly.) For now, Barr seems ready to continue serving as a loyal stooge for the president.