Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Firings speak to Trump’s character

The president hires the worst and fires the best
(Flickr Creative Commons: Gage Skidmore)

When Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, my dad would often remark on the example he felt Ronald Reagan set through the Regan administration —surrounding himself with expert advisors and letting those experts have their due influence on domestic and foreign policy decisions rather than letting his own relative lack of expertise dominate the administration’s actions. This was said, of course, during the short-lived post-election period during which it was popular to posit that Trump deserved a chance. My view of Reagan is not as favorable as my father’s, but I can appreciate the sentiment behind not fearing the inexperience of certain politicians when it is complimented by the smart hiring of experienced staff. On the campaign trail, Trump promised that he would have “the best people.” However, with Trump seemingly unable to retain those “best people,” their departures speak to the state of his presidency.

In his first year, Trump’s staffing turnover rate was 34 percent, not including any turnover that took place within the past month. His administration has been punctuated by a series of high profile departures and firings from the White House and larger federal government: National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer, Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, FBI Director James Comey, Communications Director Hope Hicks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and now former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—only to name a few. Clearly, if Trump ever had the best people in the first place (he didn’t), then he cannot keep them in the White House. Save for Defense Secretary James Mattis, I suppose there is something incompatible about being qualified for your job and working in this administration.

The manner in which Trump fired some of the more recent staff is telling. Tillerson, like many others, was fired via tweet, yet was notified while while on the toilet, according to Chief of Staff John Kelly. Then there is the recent firing of McCabe, who, after months of criticism and smearing from the president, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions mere hours before he would have earned his full pension. This firing is petty and vindictive; denying McCabe his pension which was earned over the course of 21 years out of spite is a hateful act. This is the businessman president many in the Republican establishment have yearned for: behold the power of corporate toxicity in Washington.

Maybe McCabe can sue for wrongful termination and win back his pension, but this is about more than McCabe—he worked for the FBI for 21 years; his career had reached its conclusion with or without retirement benefits. First and foremost, it is about the Russia investigation. Removing McCabe is another way of slandering the FBI and Robert Mueller, as McCabe himself claims. Further, the big picture isn’t the 21-year FBI careerist, but rather the agent starting their ninth year at the FBI who just took out a new mortgage while saving to pay for their kid’s college education, who now knows that cooperating in investigations against Trump might result in an early end to their career. This firing is an intimidation tactic, plain and simple.

If rumors circulated about other politicians, accusing them of firing staff in the same unprofessional and undignified way that Trump and his staff have been rumored to have done, I would hesitate to read into it as anything more than palace intrigue. In the context of an insatiable media landscape that is constantly looking for its next big headline, some politicians and leaders deserve the benefit of the doubt. But the president certainly isn’t one of them.

To say Trump has revealed his character through the recent firings would be an overstatement; there is nothing left to reveal and there hasn’t been for a long time. He has always lived this life. His nature has always been conspicuous. Frankly, there are times when I cannot help but laugh at how Trump seems to unfailingly make the worst decision in any given circumstance. And while I would like to have faith in history’s ability to render righteous judgment on his life, I know that there is no truth that Fox News cannot distort and pervert, in much the same way that the truth of Reagan’s presidency has been distorted into one of a conservative golden age that ignores his legacy of shoddy economic policy and staggering wealth inequality. Nevertheless, Trump firing his staff in a spiteful, malicious and unprofessional way is representative of the man he is at his core.

Dan Riley is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    John AimoMar 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Well you have two aspects to the firing of Mccabe. One is that he most likely deserved to be fired, the evidence has not been released but it appears there was due cause and the DOJ stated there was, there is no reason to suspect that they were wrong or lying. The author did not even mention the reason, that he was fired for leaking information to the press and then lying about it. Mccabe has not denied this either.

    The author just seems to be obsessed with how the person is fired; that’s really irrelevant. He mentions how someone was notified on the toilet of termination, that’s basically tabloid gossip. It’s not really relevant or important and I guess you could make an argument that firing someone while they are on the toilet shows the poor ‘character’ of the president. It’s this sort of insane obsession with the trivial by liberals why they lost the presidency and why they are losing in politics.

    Second you could make an argument that the manner in which Mccabe was fired was vindictive. Not the firing but how he was, a day before his pension was due. It probably was but is that so bad> It just proves that donald trump is a human being. Like president Obama or any president before him never once in their whole life was vindictive and used there power as president to be vindictive.

    Mccabe embarrassed the persident and used his position to leak damaging information on him. Mccabe was foolish, if you anger the president of the united states, your going to face consequences. His consequence was to be humiliated and lose his pension. Alot of people are going to face consequences like this from the president, republicans and the american people. Liberals and media have acted like they can lie and slander and attack and call the other side the most outrageous names and accusations like they are nazis or racists and face no consequences.

    It’s not moral to be vindictive but that’s human nature and all president trump did was be human.

    • N

      NITZAKHONMar 22, 2018 at 5:53 am

      It’s not like, oh, he had the IRS audit his enemies (Obama), promised the Russians he’d be more flexible after his re-election (Obama), sold 20% of America’s uranium to them (Clinton)…

      He’s guilty of opposing the Left. For them, that’s the ultimate crime.

  • N

    NITZAKHONMar 21, 2018 at 6:47 am

    I see a great future for you at the Communist News Network…