When he was running for the Republican nomination, and eventually the presidency, Trump made a number of campaign promises that have fallen to the wayside. The most disregarded of these being to “hire the best people” when asked how he would navigate domestic and international policy with no experience. Sure enough, he is elected and does hire a ton of people. How smart they are or were might be in question in some cases, but by now it should be evident to everyone that those who are fired share something in common: they refused, or hesitated, to kowtow to him and worship his every word.
It turns out that hiring really, really smart people does not mean that he is going to utilize their really, really smart ideas. In fact, Trump hasn’t shown a propensity to care about others’ ideas. He simply wants them to agree with him, going so far as to label his own Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, a “Democrat” because they are not in lockstep on every inch of foreign policy. This isn’t a one-off either. In the same interview, Trump told Leslie Stahl: “Frankly, I like General Mattis. I think I know more about it (NATO) than he does. And I know more about it from the standpoint of fairness, that I can tell you.” I’m no fan of Secretary Mattis, but facts are facts. He’s only been dealing with international military issues and situations for the past 40 years. What could he possibly know about these things that an unsuccessful Manhattan developer who’s been propped up with his father’s money?
To be plain, this is not good. Are we, as a country, just going to give our president a pass on his commitment to use really, really smart people to address our country’s needs? Surely we cannot honestly think that he is capable of responding to all that our country has to deal with all by himself. Personally, I have never been overly impressed with Trump’s intellectual prowess. At least, his verbal skills have not impressed me. But, personal views aside, given the fact that our country became the strongest, best, most envied country in the world with a President and his cabinet of smart, trusted advisors for the last 240+ years, shouldn’t we consider that a structure worth continuing?
I, for one, like the idea of having people who have the background and the intellectual capacity to manage one major component of our country’s business, whether that be Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, Labor, etc. Trump, no matter what any of his followers might believe, just isn’t that good. Reagan had a cabinet, Roosevelt (both of them), Kennedy, Clinton, Bush (both of them). All of our previous presidents had trusted advisors that they received counsel from as they ran the country. Do we really think that Trump should be going it alone? And honestly, shouldn’t we at least hold him to his commitment of hiring really, really smart people who he will actually listen to?