It’s not written in stone, but reports from multiple outlets who cite numerous sources say HR McMaster is on his way out as President Trump’s national security adviser. If true, it would follow a string of White House departures and confirm news stories saying Trump wants to clean house.
The trail Trump blazes by getting rid of people who he feels are not loyal enough to him could have serious ramifications down the road. Trump still thinks he’s the “boss.” The Attorney General and heads of cabinet agencies are not there to serve him, personally. The US code regulating the oath of office for any official save for the President and members of the military doesn’t say a word about swearing to uphold an allegiance to the president.
Yes, the president should have people in such important positions that on an overall basis, see eye to eye. Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times about Rex Tillerson:
He came to office with no discernible worldview other than the jaded transactionalism he acquired as ExxonMobil’s C.E.O. He leaves office with no discernible accomplishment except a broken department and a traumatized staff. Six of the 10 top positions at State are vacant; even now the United States does not have an ambassador to South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Africa or the European Union, among other posts.
Stephens argues Trump’s move to make Mike Pompeo his new Secretary of State is an improvement. What Stephens fails to mention, however, is the number times Trump directly undermined Tillerson. How Tillerson wanted to fill high-level positions within the State Department and Trump would veto Tillerson’s choices. The reality is, Tillerson never had the flexibility given to former Secretary’s of State to do their job efficiently and still serve the president’s interests. It’s not clear how Pompeo will have better luck.
Jeff Sessions is also on Trump’s list of targets. There was nobody more loyal to Trump than Sessions. Ted Cruz boasted of his relationship with Sessions during the 2016 campaign, and the next Cruz looked, Sessions was at a rally with Trump, sporting a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and endorsing Trump. However, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and hasn’t taken up Trump’s challenge to prosecute Hillary Clinton for the hell of it.
When Gary Cohn wouldn’t get on board with Trump’s silly tariffs, he was pushed out. Larry Kudlow is a sharp guy, and Trump could do worse. Early signs from Kudlow say he won’t push back on Trump’s tariffs — for now. Kudlow is the ultimate free-market person. At some point, he’s going to push back on Trump’s protectionism and then what? Another round of “Who’s who?” in the Trump administration?
Word around the campfire is, Trump wants Sessions out and his current EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, in as AG. But does Trump think Pruitt will storm in and start yelling at prosecutors to go after Hillary Clinton, fire Robert Mueller and essentially behave as mafia consigliere rather than the second highest law enforcement officer in the country? Whether one likes Jeff Sessions or not (and I think some of his ideas are throwbacks to the 80’s), he did the right thing recusing himself, and he knows he can’t go after Hillary Clinton on a whim. Scott Pruitt doesn’t strike me as a person who will behave any differently. What will Trump do?
The laughable aspect of all this is the MAGA crowd behaving as though Trump is finally doing what he wants. Look at this bit of brilliance from Trumpbart writer John Nolte:
Pretty obvious Trump is taking control of his administration today.
He tried it their way.
Now he's going to do it his way.
We elected Trump, not Tillerson and Cohn and the rest.
— Join the NRA Today!!!! (@NolteNC) March 13, 2018
Really? Gary Cohn and Rex Tillerson were choices Trump made. The idea that they were installed in their positions over the objections of Trump is absurd. Trump is not doing it his way, now. He just wants people whose loyalty is to him first, not the country.
He’s going to get disappointed again when Pompeo, Kudlow and possibly Pruitt surprise him by saying to Trump at some point, “That is not in the best interests of the country.”
Who does Trump find to replace them he learns they won’t be the loyalists he expects?