After four years of President Trump’s consistent personnel miscalculations, does this surprise anyone? Poor choices are no longer an aberration…it is part of who he is. My guess is that he has been the CEO for so long, with the attendant authority to fire people at will, that he simply assumes that people will do what they are told. But politics is a strange and awful beast, and our current political structure is subsumed inside a convoluted deep state that controls far more than he expected, including some of his seemingly excellent choices.
And betrayal is the coin of the realm inside the beltway, so it is no surprise that he is being undermined even before he has announced his candidacy.
Yes, it is important for President Trump to have a well-credentialed stable of policy experts capable of both building a 2024 platform and finding solid MAGA talent to populate a new Trump Administration. But the AFPI Trojan Horse—whose leadership is now bragging about how it will staff Trump’s “shadow cabinet”—is decidedly not that.
Most comically, the AFPI roster features the author of a poison pen White House memoir who sued the president; a Communist China-trained accountant who criticized the president for “ineffective drug price policies”; a former Cabinet secretary who almost got Trump impeached; a former top advisor to Dick “Endless War” Cheney; and John “Book Deal” Bolton’s former chief of staff. What could go wrong there?
Most perniciously, the AFPI economics team is peppered with free trade ideologues on record opposing Trump’s tariffs—the most important and transformational component of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. The most famous offender here is Trump’s former National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, who is now vice chairman of the AFPI board.
“Free trade ideologues!” Yeah…that is a recipe for American ascendance! On what planet do these people live? The total repudiation of a rigid free trade stance has been exhaustively demonstrated, yet they cling to their sophomoric political philosophy that has failed. Emerson said it best: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”
But the issue is more profound than the stupidity of free traders. It is President Trump’s inability to recognize disloyalty, and his naive assumption that people will do what they are told and follow the overarching goals of his administration.
No, they won’t. They will need to be made to behave, and if they can’t or won’t they need to be discarded. Unfortunately I do not believe that President Trump is capable of that sort of management, nor does he have sufficient perspective to decide who is loyal to him and his political philosophy, and who is a grifting snake.
What Donald Trump does better than anyone is something else entirely. He has been able to articulate a vision of America in terms that resonate with the silent and so far quiescent majority who have been left behind and marginalized by smug elite. It is my hope that Donald Trump understands this and becomes the elder statesman of a resurgent, conservative-controlled Republican party, guiding its philosophy and keeping it focused on what must be the single issue of our time: America First.