If there’s one go-to Trump administration story on a slow news day, it’s this: Chaos! Chaos in the administration! Firings as far as the eyes can see! Revolving door!
This past week saw two more controversial departures that took up plenty of airtime and caused plenty of controversy. And, according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, that’s OK — because that’s who President Donald Trump is.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was already supposed to be going via retirement, but after a report by the Department of Justice inspector general suggested that his conduct during the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email and its aftermath was fireable, he, well, got fired. And lost his pension. Of course, it was the DOJ who actually did the firing at the recommendation of their own independent inspector general, but it still somehow got blamed on Trump.
Less expected was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was let go earlier in the week. The outgoing secretary declined to thank the president in his departure speech and was apparently told he was going to be fired while he was on the toilet.
The general scuttlebutt is that Tillerson was fired because he was clashing with the president’s style. One Capitol Hill GOPer told Time that Tillerson was let go because the secretary of state tried to moderate the president’s behavior.
“It’s no secret the president is not a patient man. Now, he’s really out of patience and will be doing things his way,” the unnamed Republican said. “The president tried it their way and didn’t like what he was seeing. Now, he’s going to try it his way.”
However, in an appearance on Judge Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News show this weekend, Huckabee said the reason Washington people are “dumbstruck” at the firings is the fact that those in the swamp have been too patient for too long.
“The reason that there has been various people leaving government is because Donald Trump is a business guy,” Huckabee said.
“He is used to putting people around him who are competent, and if people around him don’t get the job done, he lets them go.”
“People in government aren’t used to this,” Huckabee continued. “They’re used to seeing people remain in jobs for years and years even if they’re utterly incompetent and ineffective and inefficient, and people in Washington are dumbstruck that you would actually have someone who would take seriously the role of chief executive and would get rid of people who don’t do their jobs.
“Look, from the time we were in first grade, we didn’t get to go to recess if we didn’t finish our coloring,” he added.
“Donald Trump looks at people around him, and if they didn’t finish their coloring on time, he tells them there’s not only going to be a missed recess, but the famous words for which he is notorious for — you’re fired — and he’s saying to some people, some of whom need it.”
Mike Huckabee may be biased — he sired the White House press secretary, after all — but he’s not in the wrong here.
Andrew McCabe needed to hear it, even if it wasn’t Trump who delivered it. What stuns me about the McCabe firing isn’t that people are angry that it was done for no reason — indeed, I don’t think I’ve heard a whole lot of people say unequivocally that McCabe did nothing wrong. Instead, they’re angry about the fact that it was timed so that he would lose his pension. This is seriously what concerns them.
While Trump didn’t deliver the ax, if the new climate he’s engendered in Washington had something to do with the firing, more power to him.
As for Rex Tillerson, whether he needed it or not remains to be seen. If he wasn’t working for Trump, though, firing him wasn’t the worst idea. Trump doesn’t care about how things look when it comes to personnel. He goes with what he thinks works — which is what you should do.
We knew Trump was different from most presidents. Part of that is that he comes from a business background. He doesn’t play by the niceties Washington society has established.
The media may call it chaos. However, what’s become clear is that the president does not have the same unearned respect for entrenched bureaucrats that his predecessors did. That’s not really chaos. That’s demanding results.
While it remains to be seen whether it works for the Trump White House, we can say one thing — it got him in the White House in the first place.
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