This morning President Trump fumed about short-lived White House director of communications Anthony Scaramucci, who is now a cable-news pundit and increasingly critical of the president. Trump calls Scaramucci “a highly unstable ‘nut job’ who was with other candidates in the primary who got shellaced [sic], and then unfortunately wheedled his way into my campaign. I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a fool of himself, bad on TV.”
This comes after Trump called former assistant to the president and reality show contestant Omarosa Manigault a “crazed, crying lowlife” and “a dog,”; called his former lawyer Michael Cohen a “rat” and a liar, and declared that his former chief strategist “sloppy” Steve Bannon “has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind” and that the only thing he does well is “leak false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.”
Puzzling how the same pattern keeps happening over and over again, huh? Other former Trump staffers, advisors and cabinet members who have publicly contradicted or criticized the president after leaving on bad terms include former lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former secretary of veterans affairs David Shulkin, and former National Economic Council director Gary Cohn. And all of this comes from a president who repeatedly pledged he would hire only “the best people” and who constantly talked about the importance of loyalty.
Back in November, I wrote that one would think that eventually Trump would get tired of hiring and promoting people on the basis of perceived loyalty and then enduring one epic betrayal after another. One might think that eventually the president would realize that his overt and public demands for loyalty have left him particularly vulnerable to a familiar kind of shady operator, one who sucks up to the boss on the way in, obsesses about potential rivals once they’re in the job, always departs on bad terms and then trashes everyone once they’re out.
But apparently septuagenarians have a difficult time breaking habits and not repeating the same mistakes … which has ominous implications for the near future of American politics.