Opinion Opinions | The unbearable task of staffing Trump
Biden: Fauci is a 'truth-teller'
Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Monday that President Trump is right to include Dr. Anthony Fauci in the White House's coronavirus task force briefings, calling the country's top infectious disease doctor a "truth-teller.""What they're doing right is letting Dr. Fauci speak more often. He's a truth-teller," Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in an interview with MSNBC.
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
The United States is in the middle of the biggest economic and health emergency since perhaps the Civil War. This is the exactly the moment when you would ordinarily hope a president was starting his fourth year. By this point in the term, any competent president would have presumably sorted out who was doing a good job and who was not, and crafted a veteran team adept at running the executive branch of the federal government.
Trump Promotes Voter ID, Says 'a Lot of People Cheat With Mail-In Voting'
"I think Voter ID is very important and the reason they don't want Voter ID is because they tend to cheat," Trump said."I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," Trump said at Friday's coronavirus task force meeting from the White House. "I think people should vote with Voter ID. I think Voter ID is very important, and the reason they don't want Voter ID is because they tend to cheat.
That makes the Trump administration all the more striking. We already know about thein this administration. The between those still in and those who have left is equally striking.
Consider the reaction to the coronavirus. Sure, trade adviser Peter Navarroabout the pandemic. The problem is, , it was impossible for him to convince anyone else that he was the stopped clock. In the months leading up to the current moment, the Trump staffers paying the best attention to the coronavirus were the ones who had left the administration. Former homeland security adviser Tom Bossert was early in warning about the dangers of a pandemic, as was former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb. As noted a few weeks ago, “The ominous message coming from former administration officials often stood in contrast to the upbeat White House narrative.”
Gregg Jarrett: Coronavirus crisis -- Trump must assemble economic recovery task force, before it's too late
Coronavirus has unleashed a pecuniary pandemic that is just as frightening as the virus itself --perhaps more so. Trump well recognizes that human suffering has more than one dimension and that physical welfare is invariably intertwined with personal economic health. On Saturday, the president reiterated his earlier expressed belief that well-intended remedies must not be fatal. He told reporters, "The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself. We've got to get our country open.
McGraw suggested “the disconnect is perhaps an example of the evolution of Trump’s administration — dissenting voices have fallen away in favor of those more willing to toe the Trump line.” However, even this has not proved to be a perfect guide to who stays and who goes. As press secretary, Stephanie Grisham proved to be an even bigger toady than Sarah Sanders. Shea televised news briefing. In response to some criticisms from former White House chief of staff John Kelly, , “I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President.” That’s loyalty — and yet, with the arrival of new chief of staff Mark Meadows, from the West Wing.
For the object lesson of the impossibility of staffing Trump, consider the odyssey of acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly. He only was made acting secretary after his predecessor was fired over disagreeing with Trump’s intervention into the military justice system, after which, “the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”
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Police who wanted to apply the containment measures were taken to task and the target of projectiles Thursday evening in the Toulouse district of the Reynerie © A. GELEBART / 20 MINUTES Member of a patrol of the national police in Toulouse, here in the Empalot district.
After that inauspicious start, Modly was put in a tough spot afterreported on an explosive letter that the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sent to Navy officials pleading for assistance in response to the coronavirus spreading across his carrier. Capt. Brett Crozier wrote, “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
In response, Modly told the Chronicle that, “we don’t disagree with the [captain] on that ship.” It quickly became clear, however, that Modly was not pleased with the letter going public and blamed Crozier for that. On Friday, Modly had relieved Crozier of his command,at a news conference that the captain had displayed “poor judgment” and that “we do and we should expect more from the commanding officers of our aircraft carriers.”
Modly actedof both the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the chief of naval operations, Adm. Michael Gilday. Still, there might have been hidden aspects of this case that made Crozier’s actions seem worthy of questioning. My Washington Post colleagues do an excellent job of providing some background context to the events leading up to Crozier’s removal.
Top Democrat accuses Trump of 'purging' the intelligence community
In a letter to Trump's intel chief, Sen. Warner said Trump's firing of intel IG Atkinson signals a purge. Rep. Schiff sent a similar letter Tuesday.In the letter to acting DNI Richard Grenell, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia expresses dismay about the recent firing of the inspector general of the intelligence community. That move came on the heels of Trump ousting the director of national intelligence and his deputy, and the head of the National Counterterrorism Center and his deputy.
Modly firebombed whatever mitigating circumstances might have existed with two highly questionable actions. First,to explain why he acted the way he did. In his account, Modly explicitly referenced the need to cater to Donald Trump’s whims:
Modly explained that his predecessor, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer, “lost his job because the Navy Department got crossways with the president” in the Gallagher case. “I didn’t want that to happen again.” The acting secretary reiterated the point later in the conversation: “I put myself in the president’s shoes. I considered how the president felt like he needed to get involved in Navy decisions [in the Gallagher case and the Spencer firing]. I didn’t want that to happen again.”
Modly said he “had no discussions with anyone at the White House prior to making the decision” to relieve Crozier. Referring to his boss, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, he said: “That is Secretary Esper’s job, not mine.” Navy sources had said Modly told a colleague that Trump “wants him [Crozier] fired,” and though Modly denied getting any direct message to that effect, he clearly understood that Trump was unhappy with the uproar surrounding the Roosevelt.
His next screw-up was to mimic his commander in chief’s style in response tothat Crozier received after he was stripped of his command. Modly decided to fly to Guam to address the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt in , in which he suggested either Crozier was “too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this.” Modly also complained about the drama this had caused in Washington and blasted the news media and former vice president Joe Biden.
Trump says country 'near the peak' of coronavirus outbreak, death toll should be under 100,000
President Trump on Friday said he believes the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic will be "substantially less" than the 100,000 projected.President Trump on Friday said he believes the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic will be "substantially less" than the 100,000 projected last week, arguing the country is nearing the peak of the outbreak.
The effect of this speech on the crew was:
When his 15-minute speech was over, signing off with a tepid “Go Navy,” Mr. Modly had effectively drawn an invisible line between him and the more than 4,800 crew members of the Roosevelt, one crew member said. This sailor added that many of the crew thought Mr. Modly had called them stupid for putting so much faith in their commanding officer. After Mr. Modly’s speech, junior sailors approached the crew member, he said, looking to leave the service after their first enlistment.
Mr. Modly did not tour the ship, and practically no one, especially those in the lower ranks, even saw him. He was gone in less than 30 minutes.
— until he didn’t and . Twenty-four hours later, .
The moral of this story is that there are three ways to try to staff Trump at this point, and two of them will end badly. The first way is to try to hold firm to one’s principles, in which case, Modly is correct: You will eventually run afoul of the president.
The second way is to demonstrate complete fealty and try to adhere to his every whim. The problem with this is that the president suffers from. A lot of his instincts will be off the mark, and once he is forced to change course, he will need a fall guy. This is what happened to Modly.
The third way is to marry Ivanka.
This is not the best way to run the federal government in an emergency.
Trump threatens to adjourn Congress to get his nominees through .
President accuses Senate Democrats of blocking his nominations.He spent several minutes of his daily coronavirus briefing Wednesday blaming Senate Democrats for blocking his nominations, even though most of the vacancies in the federal government are because Trump hasn’t selected anyone to fill them. Several of his nominees haven’t been given a confirmation hearing yet in the Republican-led Senate.