It's so hard to get good help these days.
All the president wants in the people he hires is someone who he can trust, who understands him and what he wants to do, and who will be loyal. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently it is. And I feel your pain, Mr. President.
Take your press secretary. Sure, Sean Spicer gamely repeated whatever he was told to say, even if it blatantly denied widely acknowledged facts or flatly contradicted whatever he himself had said the last time he was asked about a given topic. But a trained monkey can repeat talking points. A press secretary's job is to shape coverage in a direction that promotes the administration's agenda. Was Spicer able to do that? Absolutely not — on the contrary; he became a stock figure of press ridicule.
You'd think somebody skating on thin ice like that would have been eager to show he was a team player. Instead, when you hired somebody you liked, someone who treated you with respect, who got you and where you're coming from, what did this person do? He resigned. Well, you're better off without quitters like that in the organization.
Or take your chief of staff. Now, this is a position where you really needed somebody with strong organizational skills who could get results. And before you hired him, everybody said Reince Preibus was the man for the job. He had strong relationships with the Republicans in Congress, and was a real team player, someone who respected your incredible achievement and seemed to understand that his job was to keep the party behind you and not the other way around. So you hired him, and what happened? The White House spiraled into chaos — or anyway everybody says so, which is at least as bad — and Congress still couldn't get its act together to pass your agenda. Whose fault is that if not the chief of staff's?
So you bring in a new chief, and what's the first thing he does? Fires the guy you just hired to clean up the mess in communications! True, Anthony Scaramucci was making himself a bit too much the story — you might even say he was sucking his own whatever — but still. Gen. Kelly better remember who's the boss if he wants to keep his new job.
Speaking of generals, what about the attorney general? If ever anybody should be loyal to his boss, surely Jeff Sessions is that man. Sessions' entire career as a prosecutor and a senator reached its logical culmination in his current position, a position he surely knows he owes entirely to the good will of the president. No other Republican would have hired him, and no other Republican would be so supportive of so many aspects of his agenda. And how does he repay the extraordinary support you've shown him? By putting his own interests above the president's, recusing himself in an inquiry that he knows has no substance, because he was at many of the most important meetings himself. Such a disappointment.
But something's going to have to be done about it. That crazy Robert Mueller fellow is already crossing a red line by looking into your personal finances. The only way to end that kind of fishing expedition is to torpedo it before it really gets going. He's got to go. And if Sessions won't fire him, then he's got to go, too. And you obviously can't have Rod Rosenstein inherit the top job, since he hired Mueller in the first place. Is there any rule that says you have to have an attorney general?
And while we're on positions that might be better left empty: secretary of state. Rex Tillerson came with such high recommendations — Bob Gates, Condoleeza Rice. But once again, he's been a terrible disappointment. Relations with Russia are a disaster — you'd think a guy who Vladimir Putin personally gave a medal could do more than say expelling our diplomats is "uncalled for." Tillerson is reportedly deeply unhappy with the position and eager to leave. And when someone isn't happy in their job, they don't tend to do good work. If you replace him, you should pick someone with the proper enthusiasm. I understand Mooch is available.
But it's probably better you leave the position unfilled. That's the way Tillerson has handled the rest of the department, after all. Frankly, if someone wants to do a deal with America, they should go straight to the top. And why shouldn't they? You've got a cell phone, right?
When you take a hard look, your whole foreign policy team has a bit of a problem. Your national security adviser keeps talking in meetings like he's the one setting foreign policy. Your secretary of defense keeps threatening to resign if you don't hire the people he wants. Your chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff flagrantly won't follow your orders. What's it going to take to get these people to recognize who's boss?
You're the boss. The proverbial buck stops on your desk, even if it's your underlings who screwed things up. So make a clean sweep. If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.
Just like you said at the convention: "I alone can fix it."