Donald Trump is not all-that-popular among former members of his administration, many of whom have left under less than cordial terms. Now, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security named Miles Taylor, who even served as the department’s chief of staff at one point, has written an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which he lays out his perspective on some of the abject failures of Trump’s so-called leadership. In Taylor’s characterization, behind the scenes, Trump is erratic and self-obsessed and nearly constantly impeding the most basic functions of government.
Taylor served at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 through 2019, all of which, of course, is part of the Trump administration. Taylor writes that he “had hoped that Donald Trump, once in office, would soberly accept the burdens of the presidency — foremost among them the duty to keep America safe,” but Trump, as Taylor explains it, “did not rise to the challenge. Instead, the president has governed by whim, political calculation and self-interest.”
‘The president has tried to turn DHS, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit… Trump’s indiscipline was also a constant source of frustration… Top DHS officials were regularly diverted from dealing with genuine security threats by the chore of responding to these inappropriate and often absurd executive requests, at all hours of the day and night. One morning it might be a demand to shut off congressionally appropriated funds to a foreign ally that had angered him, and that evening it might be a request to sharpen the spikes atop the border wall so they’d be more damaging to human flesh (“How much would that cost us?”). Meanwhile, Trump showed vanishingly little interest in subjects of vital national security interest, including cybersecurity, domestic terrorism and malicious foreign interference in U.S. affairs.’
Taylor has plenty of examples. For instance, he shares, during a meeting with the president in the Oval Office in March 2019, Trump said that he wanted to close the border between Mexico and California — a Democrat-run state — because he thought “it would be better for him politically, he said, than closing long stretches of the Texas or Arizona border,” Taylor explains.
Taylor also tells of a February 2019 incident when Trump “demanded a DHS phone briefing to discuss the color of the wall” while leaving Congress “waiting for an answer from the White House on a pending deal to avoid a second government shutdown.”
On other occasions, Taylor shares, Trump “repeatedly exhorted DHS officials to restart” the policy of punitively separating migrant children from their families in an attempt at deterring migrants from ever making the journey to the U.S. in the first place. In the time since, the Trump administration has largely curtailed asylum-seeking at the southern border through a maze of restrictions. Most recently, the Trump administration has used the excuse of the Coronavirus to develop a proposal for a rule in which “any migrant who had been in Mexico or Canada in the last two weeks would be treated as a security threat,” The Week summarizes. This nonsense is what Trump is standing for as he seeks another term in office.