The man who did everything in his power to keep da trumpeter from winning the GOP nomination last summer has now switched his loyalties and is accepting the position of White House Chief of Staff in the Trump administration. Now, I don’t care much for Priebus, never did, but then, I am not a Republican, so I view him from an outsider’s viewpoint, interested only because I am interested in politics in general. But, in the grander scheme of things, it seems to me that if one has certain beliefs, certain values, one retains those values. It seems that Mr. Priebus has, like Chris Christie and Ben Carson before him, sold out his own … soul, for lack of a better word. He is now what I would consider a traitor, not only to the party he headed up for six years, but to the nation.
Perhaps Mr. Priebus is a traitor even to himself, to his own conscience, if indeed he has one. I think of the causes I strongly support … LGBT rights, Civil Rights, Black Lives Matter, and I try to imagine changing my stance on any of these for a job, even a job as well-paid and powerful as the one Mr. P will assume in January. Nope, I simply would not do it. I have almost always been comfortable in my own skin, comfortable with my own values. I am finding in the past several years, however, that I am even more so as I am using my voice to speak up for those values. I am finding that I am stronger, that I am no longer offended or hurt by those who disagree with me, but that every challenge to my values strengthens my determination to fight for what I believe is right. Sadly, Mr. P seems to have sacrificed whatever values he once had.
It is too bad, as Priebus has a good reputation. In his six-year tenure as RNC Chairman, Priebus erased a $24 million budget deficit, made huge investments in data, minority outreach and voter-registration efforts in swing states and is routinely hailed as one of the best fundraisers ever to lead the party. He was once well-respected. Now I wonder if he even has any self-respect left.
So, what are we likely to see from Mr. P next year? The term “White House Chief of Staff” is rather vague, and I must admit that I wasn’t quite sure exactly what it entailed, so I did some research. The primary duties that Mr. P will assume next year include:
- Select and supervise key White House staff
- Control access to the Oval Office and the president
- Manage communications and information flow
- Negotiate with Congress, executive branch agencies, and external political groups to implement the president’s agenda.
The first one is a non-issue, but I see potential problems with the other three. Controlling access to the president means that Mr. P will have control over who gets in to see the prez, what they can discuss with him, and for how long. Typically, one wouldn’t see a problem with this, but the Chief of Staff has a tremendous amount of power and the abuse of this power has lead to some Chiefs falling foul of the law – such as Nixon’s Haldeman and Ehrlichman.
Perhaps the most concerning of the four duties listed is the third – ‘Manage communications and information flow.” I find this disturbing because I remain of the belief that Trump will move quickly to take steps directed at curtailing the freedom of the press. When I read the word ‘manage’, my mind automatically replaces it with another word: manipulate. I imagine that, to a greater or lesser degree, that has been the case in every administration since the creation of the Chief of Staff position in 1939. But I see tremendous potential for abuse here, and I only hope that there will be enough diligent, honest watchdogs within the White House to ensure that We The People have accurate information coming from the White House.
Additionally, the Chief of Staff oversees and coordinates the efforts of the following offices:
- Council of Economic Advisers
- Council on Environmental Quality
- Executive Residence
- National Security Staff
- Office of Administration
- Office of Management and Budget
- Office of National Drug Control Policy
- Office of Science and Technology Policy
- Office of the United States Trade Representative
- Office of the Vice President
- Domestic Policy Council
- National Security Advisor
- National Economic Council
- Office of Cabinet Affairs
- Office of the Chief of Staff
- Office of Communications
- Office of Digital Strategy
- Office of the First Lady
- Office of Legislative Affairs
- Office of Management and Administration
- Oval Office Operations
- Office of Presidential Personnel
- Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Office of Scheduling and Advance
- Office of the Staff Secretary
- Office of the White House Counsel
I see the traits of integrity, honesty and a conscience as requisites for EVERY position in the federal government, and most important at the highest levels. (Okay, yes, I am naive, yet not really … I do know that there are always some abuses of power). If anybody, after Reince Priebus’ 180° about face this year, believes that he has any of those qualities, then I would like to talk to you about a bridge I have for sale in Brooklyn (see below). Any time somebody sacrifices what they once said they believed in simply out of greed for either money or power, that person goes into the swamp, never to return, in my mind. The president has complete control over the White House staff, as well as the cabinet, and I plan to keep a very close eye on the people chosen for those positions. While I am disgusted and disturbed by his choices thus far, I am thankful, at least, that he did not select Mr. P for Secretary of State! My next post will cover Trump’s choice for chief strategist and senior counsellor, none other than America’s #1 Thug, Steve Bannon. Stay tuned, folks … should be a real riot!