Speed Reads


Trump 'really doesn't believe in advisers' and sees them as 'an annoyance,' ex-aides and allies say

John Bolton and President Trump had many differences, but his acrimonious exit as national security adviser Tuesday seemed inevitable after he broke "the president's sometimes Kafkaesque management style — an unusual set of demands and expectations he sets for those in his direct employ," The Washington Post reports. Trump, for example, "tolerates a modicum of dissent, so long as it remains private; expects advisers to fall in line and defend his decisions; and demands absolute fealty at all times."

There's only one person who can survive in Trump's orbit, and it's Trump, former advisers tell the Post. "You're there more as an annoyance to him because he has to fill some of these jobs, but you're not there to do anything other than be backlighting," said former communications director Anthony Scaramucci. "There's one spotlight on the stage, it's shining on Trump, and you're a prop in the back with dim lights." A Republican in close touch with Trump agreed: "He really doesn't believe in advisers. ... John [Bolton] saw his role as advisory, but Trump thinks he's his own adviser, and I don't think people fully appreciate this."

"There is no person that is part of the daily Trump decision-making process that can survive long-term," a former senior administration official told the Post. "The president doesn't like people to get good press. He doesn't like people to get bad press. Yet he expects everyone to be relevant and important and supportive at all times. Even if a person could do all those things, the president would grow tired of anyone in his immediate orbit."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blamed the ousted aides. "Anybody who thinks they're smart enough to manipulate Trump, they're very foolish," he said. "People mistake a willingness to eat cheeseburgers and drink Coke with being a buffoon, and he's not a buffoon." Read more Trump rules, plus the four categories of doomed Trump advisers, at The Washington Post.