Donald Trump's fans think he's the toughest guy on the planet, and he's best known for a TV show on which he regularly fired people -- but firing people is something he's too lily-livered to do as president. Jonatham Swan reports:
A much-discussed question at the top of the White House: just what magnitude of indignity would it take for Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to resign?
President Trump knew that appointing Anthony Scaramucci as communications director would humiliate Reince, who fought hard against it....
Trump also knew that inserting a line in the press release saying Scaramucci would report directly to the President — doing an end-run around Reince — was perhaps an unendurable public humiliation.
If we've learned anything so far about this President, it's that in real life he actually hates saying "you're fired." So what might it take for Reince to quit?
"In real life he actually hates saying 'you're fired'": Chris Cillizza concurs:
Donald Trump's most famous line is "You're fired," which is funny because, as president, Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn't actually like to fire people.
Cillizza lists the many ways Trump has tried to tell Jeff Sessions to make himself scarce, none of which have inspired Sessions to resign:
Trump wants Sessions gone. But he doesn't want to swing the proverbial sword. He wants to make Sessions' life so uncomfortable that Sessions throws up his hands and walks away.
Sessions ... told reporters -- in the papal plural no less! -- "We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate."
What does Trump do in the wake of that statement? Ramps up the rhetoric against Sessions so there can be no debate between reasonable people that Trump wants his attorney general to go do something else. But he doesn't do it to Sessions directly; he does it via a serious of public statements and leaks.
Why doesn't he just fire Sessions? He's the freaking president. If he wants someone gone, he should man up and issue the pink slip. Oooh, but I don't like firing people! Well, grow up, crybaby. Do something you don't like doing for once in your life. Otherwise stop whining about the fact that these people are still around.
Sessions clearly wants to stay, but Politico's Tara Palmeri says Priebus is constrained by a self-imposed milestone:
Reince Priebus took the punishing job of President Donald Trump's chief of staff with the idea that he would stick it out for at least one year.
Six months in, with one of his top allies in the West Wing — press secretary Sean Spicer — on his way out, Priebus is in defensive mode, his role diminished and an internal rival hogging the limelight....
Despite frequent reports his position is in jeopardy, Priebus hopes to finish out his year, according to people close to him.
And according to CNN's John King, the same goes for Rex Tillerson:
Among those who viewed the President's public rebuke of Sessions as unprofessional, according to several sources, is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon-Mobil CEO.
Tillerson has a growing list of differences with the White House, including a new debate over Iran policy and personnel. His frustration is hardly a secret and it has spilled out publicly at times. But friends sense a change of late.
For weeks, conversations with Tillerson friends outside of Washington have left the impression that he, despite his frustrations, was determined to stay on the job at least through the end of the year....
But two sources who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity over the weekend said they would not be surprised if there was a "Rexit" from Foggy Bottom sooner that that.
What's with staying on the job a year? Are Priebus and Tillerson 22-year-olds who need to stick it out until that one-year anniversary to show future employers that they're not impetuous? Priebus was head of the RNC. Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil. It's okay, fellas. You can just leave. You'll find work again, trust me. I'll give Tillerson credit for at least considering a resignation. Priebus, what's your problem?
But the Trump administration is full of simpering lickspittles. We saw this in June when Cabinet members lavished Trump with on-camera praise, as if at gunpoint. Since Friday we've seen new communications director Anthony Scaramucci repeatedly expression his love for the president:
We have this nearly North Korean FoxNews.com "op-ed" from Mike Pence:
In the first six months of this administration, President Donald Trump has fought every day to deliver on his promises to the American people. At a historic pace, this president has taken bold action to restore prosperity, keep Americans safe and secure, and hold government accountable.
President Trump has signed more than 40 bills and nearly 40 executive orders on everything from health care to energy, infrastructure and more.
While the previous administration turned to federal agencies to enact its agenda, President Trump has signed more laws to slash through federal red tape than any president in American history and has saved businesses up to $18 billion a year in costs....
President Trump inherited an economy that would barely budge – but under his watch, American businesses small and large have already created more than 800,000 new jobs since January. Company after company is responding to the president’s agenda with optimism – investing billions of dollars in American jobs, American workers and America’s future.
As the father of a United States Marine, I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside a president who cares so deeply about the men and women of the armed forces of the United States of America....
And even First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner felt compelled -- or was ordered -- to inject a paragraph of Trump bootlicking into his statement to congressional committees about his interactions with Russians:
It is also important to note that a campaign's success starts with its message and its messenger. Donald Trump had the right vision for America and delivered his message perfectly. The results speak for themselves. Not only did President Trump defeat sixteen skilled and experienced primary opponents and win the presidency; he did so spending a fraction of what his opponent spent in the general election. He outworked his opponent and ran one of the best campaigns in history using both modern technology and traditional methods to bring his message to the American people.
Does anyone in this administration have any self-respect?
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog