Friday, February 09, 2018

Loyal to a fault

I've said many times that Donald Trump (before and after he became President of the United States) subscribes to a very strange "moral code." What I've noticed is that he'll be hesitant to condemn someone of (to be charitable) questionable character so long as they show "loyalty" to him (whatever that means).

For example: David Duke's penchant for white supremacy is morally repugnant. It shouldn't be all that challenging to cite that fact. Yet because Duke endorsed him for President in early 2016, Trump wouldn't condemn Duke's ties to the Ku Klux Klan. That's not to say that Trump endorses the attitudes and actions of the KKK as much as he can't bring himself to criticize someone who shows favor. Yet when someone like Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) wasn't (in Trump's view) nice to him, he verbally attacks her. Never mind it fed the narrative that Trump was anti-woman and anti-Hispanic. And never mind that collaborating with a rising young star in electoral politics could potentially enhance the Republican party's brand. Nah, the issue there was Martinez needed to be called out for having the audacity to convey substantive criticism regarding Trump's candidacy.

With two White House aides having resigned this past week due to very credible allegations of domestic violence, Trump's "moral code" is resulting in some downright creepy outcomes (i.e. commending staff secretary Rob Porter for a good job despite the very serious allegations against him). David French wrote a very insightful piece at National Review addressing this warped "loyalty pledge."

Look, I know that it’s hardly unusual for politicians demand loyalty, but when loyalty trumps character or competence — or when demands for loyalty require that you excuse the inexcusable — then there’s a problem. In the Trump administration, it’s particularly toxic. There’s a three-step process to moral corruption.

First, there are lots of folks in Washington who are struggling to make the best of the Trump presidency. He might be a personal disaster, they reason, but we can still get some decent policies passed.

Second, everyone knows that Trump demands loyalty. Everyone knows he’s remarkably thin-skinned (even as he fires more than his share of verbal broadsides). So they know that any public critique carries with it a risk of being shut out — of losing the president’s ear and losing the ability to influence his policy-making.

Third, so even while he does things they’d publicly condemn in any other president, politician, or public figure, they’ll often stay largely quiet. Sometimes they’ll even grant “sex mulligans” or praise his crass and crude public manner as “authentic.” Thus, they retain their access. They retain their influence.

Trump has been President barely more than a year, yet with each passing month this administration somehow becomes more of a raging dumpster fire. While I've always been uneasy about a President Donald Trump, I often took heart in the fact he surrounded himself with some quality individuals (Defense Secretary James Mattis and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley come to mind). However, this latest bungling regarding domestic abusers within the White House reeks of at best incompetence and at worst negligence.

Unless the environment within the Trump administration dramatically improves posthaste, it's going to be darn near impossible to entice quality individuals to come on board in the future. What a quagmire.



jerrye92002 said...

Sentence first, trial later. Off with his head.

Brad Carlson said...

The threshold to maintain gainful employment where one requires security clearance is much lower than for one to be convicted by a judge/jury. But I suspect you already know that. However if you were unaware, I'm glad to have enlightened you with that little factoid.

jerrye92002 said...

My point is that these charges of sexual something-or-other pop up, largely unsubstantiated, and are used to drive somebody from gainful employment without even a hearing, on something unrelated to his work. and THEN we want somebody else-- in this case POTUS, to resign because of "guilt by association," or for merely suggesting that we should have a little due process here.

The security aspect of the job is important, but if all I have to do is find somebody to accuse the guy of something, then you're going to lose your best security people by enemy action.

Brad Carlson said...

My point is that these charges of sexual something-or-other pop up, largely unsubstantiated...

You mean where Rob Porter's ex-wife was granted an order of protection against him? Or the photo of an ex-wife sporting a black eye?

Those seem pretty "substantial" to me, but your mileage may vary.

jerrye92002 said...

I will concede my ignorance of the facts of the matter. But those mounting the hue and cry for his head will not. The accusation constitutes the crime, if the "offender" is a Republican.

As for the specifics you offer, I say they are sufficient to warrant suspicion, but not conclusive evidence.

Brad Carlson said...

As for the specifics you offer, I say they are sufficient to warrant suspicion, but not conclusive evidence.

All of which, again, is perfectly appropriate when determining employment status.....which is all I'm addressing here.

jerrye92002 said...

Now I understand the point you're trying to make and I must agree. However, in this specific case I see something quite different happening. The choice is the employer's to make, and if the employer decides to keep the employee or to defer judgment that should be the end of it. But in this case not only are "some people" demanding immediate resignation or firing, with nothing but raw allegations, but that the employer also step down! That is outrageous.