The Best People
August 23, 2019

As the U.S.-China trade war continues to escalate, so too are President Trump's attacks on ... his own Federal Reserve chair.

On Friday morning, Trump yet again lashed out at Fed Chair Jerome Powell, angrily tweeting that the "very weak" Federal Reserve "did NOTHING" after Powell failed to reassure that interest rate cuts were on the horizon during the central bank's annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, symposium.

Trump's attack also came amid mounting fears of a possible U.S recession and China's announcement that it will hit the U.S. with retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in goods. But Trump went even further than he usually does, this time wondering aloud, "who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?"

Despite Xi being the head of the country the U.S. is locked in a trade war with and has labeled a currency manipulator, it sounds like Trump was asking rhetorically:

Powell had emphasized Friday that "monetary policy ... cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade," The Hill reports. Trump has continuously slammed Powell and demanded he lower interest rates, with The Washington Post reporting that he has considered rotating Federal Reserve governors in an attempt to limit Powell's power. The president has also repeatedly insisted that he could fire Powell.

All this marks quite the change in tone from when Trump praised Powell as "strong," "committed," and "smart" in his glowing 2017 Rose Garden ceremony.

August 19, 2019

The feud between President Trump and his former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, isn't remotely slowing down.

Trump on Monday lashed out at Scaramucci, who served as White House director of communications for less than two weeks, after Scaramucci's latest morning show interview in which he blasted the president and again said Republicans should replace him on the 2020 ticket. Trump described Scaramucci's White House tenure as "11 days of gross incompetence," also alleging he "abused staff," bringing up his divorce, calling him a "mental wreck," and lobbing at him what is, in the president's world, the worst insult imaginable: that he was "bad on TV."

This is just the latest instance of Trump going after a former administration official he hired as grossly incompetent, having previously declared former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "totally ill prepared and ill equipped" for the job.

Trump's tweets came after Scaramucci's latest morning show interview on CNN, during which he said Trump is "off his rocker" and is destroying "the social fabric of the United States," while claiming that "everyone inside" the White House knows this, Mediaite reports. Scaramucci continues to predict Trump will drop out of the 2020 race by next March. Brendan Morrow

May 23, 2019

President Trump on Thursday said that Rex Tillerson, who served as his secretary of state for more than a year, was ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the job.

Trump lashed out after Tillerson reportedly told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared Trump in a 2017 meeting. "There was a discrepancy in preparation" between Trump and Putin that "created an unequal footing," Tillerson reportedly said.

In response, Trump claimed that it was Tillerson who was actually not only ill-prepared but ill-equipped for the job that Trump himself selected him for. He also claimed that Tillerson's account of the Putin meeting is false and that "I don't think Putin would agree" with the characterization.

Trump repeatedly praised Tillerson before and during his tenure as secretary of state, such as when in December 2016 he touted the former ExxonMobil CEO's "vast experience." That same month, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports Trump proudly told Mar-a-Lago guests that Tillerson has "just got that..." while doing a chef's kiss pose.

During an interview on CNN Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked for a comment about this tweet, said that Trump's 2017 meeting with Putin went "extremely well" but offered no explanation as to why Trump would hire an ill-prepared and ill-equipped person for his administration. Brendan Morrow

February 26, 2018

President Trump "has told a host of administration officials and associates" that he wants his longtime personal pilot, John Dunkin, to head the Federal Aviation Administration, Axios reported Sunday night, noting that the FAA "has a budget in the billions" and "oversees all civil aviation in the United States." A White House official confirmed to The Washington Post that Dunkin is "in the mix" to lead the agency, run by acting chief Dan Elwell since Michael Huerta's five-year term ended last month. Elwell, a former deputy FAA administrator, is also on the short list, as is Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), a commercial airline pilot.

Dunkin has flown for Trump since 1989, according to a Smithsonian Channel documentary; that's the same year Trump bought Eastern Air Line's shuttle service and transformed it into the ill-fated Trump Shuttle airlines. A senior administration official told Axios' Jonathan Swan that while Dunkin got his job interview because of his ties to Trump, "if he gets the job it won't be because he's the president's pilot." An aviation industry insider told Swan that Trump picking Dunkin would be like "the Seinfeld episode when Cosmo Kramer used his golf caddy as a jury consultant." (It did not end well.)

A White House official told the Post that Trump is not putting his thumb on the scale, but defended Dunkin's qualifications. "John Dunkin isn't just a pilot," an administration official told Axios. "He's managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign's air fleet." Trump, who has proposed privatizing the FAA's air-traffic control system, told airline executives a year ago that he has "a pilot who's a real expert," adding, "My pilot, he's a smart guy, and he knows what's going on." Dunkin has shared with people that he would tell Trump if a pilot ran the FAA, flight delays would disappear, Axios says. Peter Weber

January 19, 2018

Hungary's national police issued an arrest warrant for Sebastian Gorka, a Fox News analyst and former adviser to President Trump, in September 2016, and it is still active, The Associated Press and other media organizations report. That means Gorka was wanted in Hungary for unspecified "firearm or ammunition abuse" for the entire time he worked in the Trump White House, until his departure in August 2017. The warrant, still posted on the website of Hungary's national police, was first reported by the Hungarian news site 444.

Gorka served as a national security aide to Trump, but his role was never clearly laid out and, AP says, he never got clearance to work on the National Security Council due at least in part to a January 2016 weapons charge at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. The unspecified weapons charge in Budapest could have been from an incident as far back as 2009, 444 noted, and Gorka points out that he moved to the U.S. from Hungary in 2008, without denying that the warrant exists.

"Don't waste your time," he told BuzzFeed News. "I don't talk to BuzzFeed, thank you." Gorka told the Washington Examiner he did "not really" have a comment because he moved to America in 2008, calling the report "more #FAKENEWS" but declining again to say if he was in Hungary after he moved to the U.S. Gorka was born in London to Hungarian parents and lived in Hungary from 1992 to 2008. Peter Weber

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