Thirty-three months Donald Trump has spent tweeting from the potty in the Oval Office, and in that time, he has broken more norms than all the presidents of the 20th and 21st centuries combined! I am not even addressing his hate-filled spew, his denigration of all who oppose him, but simply the things he has done that will cause this nation troubles for decades to come.
On Monday, it was announced that National Security Advisor John Bolton is no longer an employee of the U.S. government. It’s debatable whether he resigned, or Trump fired him, and it really matters very little, for the end result is the same either way. What this means, though, is that now Trump is seeking to hire a new National Security Advisor – it will be his fourth in less than three years.
The first, of course, was Mike Flynn who took up his position on the day of Trump’s inauguration, 20 January 2017, and lasted exactly 24 days, resigning after information surfaced that he had misled the FBI about the nature and content of his communications with Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.
The second was General Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster, who took office on 20 February 2017, just one week after Flynn’s resignation, and he lasted an entire 413 days, until 09 April 2018! McMaster either resigned or was fired by Trump and his imminent departure announced by Twitter 18 days before his departure date. The issue between McMaster and Trump was McMaster’s disagreement about foreign policy decisions, particularly those involving Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
And then, on April 9th last year, came John Bolton, the one who has had itchy fingers to bomb Iran for decades. Bolton lasted 499 days, until Monday when he either tendered his resignation, or Trump tendered his bootheel. Bolton was a war hawk who, given a choice would prefer settling differences by war rather than diplomacy. He had long advocated for regime change in Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea. He supported the Iraq war, supported withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and was a staunch critic of President Obama.
So, what happened between Bolton and Trump? Trouble has apparently been brewing for a while over the same things Trump and McMaster fell out over – policy differences over Iran, North Korea, and recently Afghanistan. But, it is said that the straw that broke the camel’s back was Trump’s plan to host the leaders of the Taliban at Camp David just days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Trump ultimately canceled the visit anyway, though likely not for the reason he claimed, but he was said to be furious with Bolton for disagreeing with him in the first place.
So, what comes next. Trump says he will announce his new choice next week, but meanwhile, the position will be filled by the Deputy National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman. Kupperman came on board 11 January 2018 and is said to be a war hawk very similar to Bolton. His tenure is likely to be short-lived.
Who, then, might Trump select to fill the slot this time? Speculation runs rampant, and for once, Trump seems to be keeping his mouth shut! Some names that are being floated are …
- Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff
- Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general and a former acting national security adviser
- Jack Keane, a retired Army vice chairman currently advising the vice president on national security
- Robert Blair, an adviser to acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney
- Robert C. O’Brien, the administration’s hostage envoy who called Mr. Trump the greatest hostage negotiator in American history Seriously???
- Stephen E. Biegun, United States’ special representative for North Korea
- Brian H. Hook, special representative for Iran and a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
- Douglas Macgregor, retired Army colonel who has written several books on reorganizing the military; is also a frequent guest on one of Trump’s favorite Fox programs, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
- Richard Grenell, U.S. ambassador to Germany who stirred much ire when he first arrived
One foreign policy analyst said that no matter who he hires, the position is no longer as important, for it has been diluted and in essence is likely to be just another ‘yes-man’ to Trump, lending legitimacy to whatever crazy schemes Trump comes up with.
It has been Trump’s tradition since taking office to replace outgoing staff with ones who are even worse for the sake of the nation than their predecessor. If he continues along that path, then my money is on Douglas Macgregor, if for no other reason than he really hasn’t much relevant experience, but mainly because of his ties to Tucker Carlson and Fox ‘News’.
Trump has more ‘acting’ directors in his cabinet than any president before him, nearly three years into his term. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Federal Emergency Management Agency are but a few of the departments who have no nominated and confirmed leader. And, of course there is acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who also currently serves as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Except for Mulvaney’s position, all the others require Senate confirmation, which is likely why there are no nominees yet.
Acting officials can serve for no more than 210 days, or 7 months. Trump claims he prefers to have ‘acting’ directors because …
“It’s easier to make moves when they’re acting. I like ‘acting’ because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility.”
In other words, it makes it easier for him to do whatever he damn well pleases. There will be many words associated with Trump and his administration in the history books – most are not nice words. One word that must be the keyword of Trump’s nightmarish administration is “chaos”. We are not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.