Early Tuesday morning, Donald Trump tweeted:
“The new Fake News narrative is that there is CHAOS in the White House. Wrong! People will always come & go, and I want strong dialogue before making a final decision. I still have some people that I want to change (always seeking perfection). There is no Chaos, only great Energy!”
Lies. Of course the White House is in chaos. It’s just that Trump has lived his whole life in a state of chaos, so it feels perfectly normal to him. The only energy around Trump is a vortex of complicity and incompetence.
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Furthermore, it should be clear to us all at this point that Trump’s public relations approach to dealing with unfavorable news is simply to rush to the nearest microphone – or log into Twitter – and say that the exact opposite is true, even when his statement is an easily provable lie.
Being right is never the point; retaliation is the point.
Later in the day, during a news conference with the prime minister of Sweden, Trump continued on this point, saying:
“The White House has tremendous energy. It has tremendous spirit. It is a great place to be working. Many, many people want every single job. You know, I read where, oh gee, maybe people don’t want to work for Trump, and believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office. They want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their résumé; it’s just a great place to work. It’s got tremendous energy.”
Then Trump lurches into emperor mode, discussing how much he enjoys the gladiator-style blood sport of the administration he has:
“It’s tough. I like conflict. I like having two people with different points of view, and I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it, I like seeing it and I think it’s the best way to go.”
Trump ended by boasting that “I have a choice of anybody.” He continued, “I could take any position in the White House, and I’ll have a choice of the 10 top people having to do with that position. Everybody wants to be there.”
That, again, is just a lie. Reporters covering this White House have been writing for months that people have trepidations about joining this White House.
Part of that is due to the extraordinary level of turnover in this administration.
As Brookings senior fellow Kathryn Dunn Tenpas put it in an analysis of Trump’s White House turnover compared to his five predecessors:
“Trump’s turnover is record-setting, more than triple that of Obama and double that of Reagan. In looking at why Trump has experienced such high turnover, I argue he has valued loyalty over qualifications and suffered from a White House that has functioned in a chaotic manner.”
This is exactly the opposite of what Trump told us would happen.
In April 2016, Trump wrote on Facebook, “I am self funding and will hire the best people, not the biggest donors!” when posting an article about Democrats’ hopes to work in a potential Hillary Clinton administration.
That same month, when The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward asked Trump what he would do in his first 100 days, Trump responded:
“OK. I would do a number of things. I would, No. 1, I would start negotiating great trade deals using – I know the best people.”
In September 2016, when hedge fund manager John Paulson asked Trump what would be his criteria in choosing senior administration officials, Trump responded:
“Track record, great competence, love of what they’re doing, how they’re getting along with people, references, I mean no different than when you’re running a company, how you hire top people. It would be no different.”
Trump later added: “You need people that are truly, truly capable, and you need, and I think so much has to do with past history: how’ve they done, how’s it all worked out. You understand what I mean by that, perhaps better than anybody. And, we have to get the best people.”
Indeed, ABC News put together a video montage of Trump promising to hire the “best people” over 10 times.
It all turned out to be a lie.
Trump is the worst boss who hires the worst people: People who confess to crimes, are secretly operating as foreign agents, allegedly beat their wives and have absolutely no expertise in the area in which they work.
When you choose loyalists and sycophants over experts and professionals, this disaster of an administration is what you get.