THIS is hard to write as it makes me perpetually look bad that I worked for him and supported him.
Donald Trump is a disgrace to the American experiment. His inept leadership has driven our society to the brink of disaster – a combination of the Great Depression, Spanish flu and the Civil Rights movement. What has caused us to arrive at this dangerous moment? A combination of Trump’s amorality, weak management and nativist instincts. But he can only outrun the truth for so long, and the walls are caving in.
Trump’s character and impetuous decision-making are born out of two things: 1) a deep-seated insecurity resulting from his father’s disapproval, and 2) the mentorship of one America’s great scoundrels, his former lawyer Roy Cohn.
“I alone can fix it,” Trump proclaimed at the Republican nominating convention, lifting the lid on the narcissism that would define his presidency.
He has governed with a complete lack of trust in those around him, which is why his administration has been a revolving door of personnel. He doesn’t listen and, above all, he wants the credit when something goes right – as if he is still seeking approval from his long-dead father.
The only thing that appears to soothe his insecurity is attempting to soil the reputations of great, accomplished men such as Jim Mattis, Rex Tillerson, Barack Obama and John McCain.
Cohn taught Trump the playbook on how to bully your way through life.
Control the news cycle. When challenged, distract and deflect. Bluff, delay and evade. Never apologise or show remorse. Have no shame.
If there is no depth to which you won’t stoop, you have an inherent advantage over your virtuous adversaries.
Cohn was a lawyer who hated lawyers. A Jewish man who was openly anti-Semitic. In the world of Cohn and Trump, fear reigns supreme.
The most belligerent, not the most prepared, will always prevail. In terms of leadership style, Trump manages by chaos.
Historically, there are two effective models for operating the executive branch of the US government: 1) a bottom-up Cabinet model and 2) a top-down White House model.
In a Cabinet model, which was used by Reagan, the President distributes power among strong cabinet officials and allows policy to filter through to the White House. In a White House model, used by Clinton, the West Wing sets policy and tasks cabinet officials with implementing it.
Trump doesn’t use either model. He uses a chaos model.
The typical connective tissue that exists between government departments has frayed, leading to a lack of communication and inability to solve problems.
The reason I never believed in the Russian collusion story is that his staff can’t even collude with themselves.
In well-run organisations a manager typically only has five or six direct reports. Everything else has to scale away or you lose the ability to hold people accountable.