There is only so much the staff can do for a leader in any organization, be it a business, charity, or political office. If the person in charge is not willing to accept the advice of those around them, it doesn’t matter who speaks for them.
Donald Trump is the president of the United States. He is (at least supposed to be) the leader of the free world. Trump allows himself to get caught up in the daily minutiae of D.C. based politics that should be left to lower level staff. Being overseas kept the president from tweeting as much as he likes and sure enough, once he got back to the states, he went all out.
This morning he tweeted (among other things):
Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
That sounds like something you’d read in the comments section on YouTube instead of the president. His supporters will say, “That’s him using the power of social media to bypass the mainstream media filters and going directly to the people!” I agree, but to what end?
His approval rating hovers between 37 and 42 percent. Every day he burns more political capital with his endless squabbling and inability to look at the big picture. I want him to sign the AHCA, and I want him to sign tax reform. But that is not going to happen if his staff is always playing catch up with the boss and focusing on trivial issues instead of big ticket items. How many times have his communications team been left out to dry after saying something only to have Trump undermine it the following day?
Go back to the Comey firing, for example. For nearly two days his communications team said Trump fired Comey based on a recommendation from his deputy attorney general. In less than two days Trump blew up that explanation saying to Lester Holt, “My decision,” and going on to say he was firing Comey no matter what Rod Rosenstein told him.
When Robert Mueller was appointed the special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the White House released a measured statement. The following morning Trump was railing on Twitter about being the subject of a “witch hunt.”
It’s easy for me to recognize this because I worked for somebody with a similar personality for over ten years. The person was paranoid that everybody was out to get him, had to be involved in the smallest of decisions, never took good advice, undermined people at every turn and blew up when things weren’t going well, not understanding the problems within started at the top.
We brought new people in all the time. Competent and intelligent people who at times worked with this person (not at the same company) but for this person and in most cases, those people were gone within a year. One of them was an executive at Fortune 50 company for 25 years. He was brought in to provide leadership as our business expanded into other countries. After little more than a year he left. He told me, “I don’t need this aggravation. I’m going to enjoy my retirement.”
The parallels between that man and what I see in the White House are spooky. Trump can bring in the best and the brightest. If he doesn’t listen to them and just expects them to be loyal underlings, don’t be surprised if you see an exodus of those same people.