It was a surprise to nobody when Trump finally had enough of Chief of Staff John Kelly, and told him not to forget to salute the Marine Sentries on his way out. Jared and Ivanka hated him, mainly because he hated them, passionately, and thought that the Dilettante Daughter and her Doofus Dauphin had no business marching into the Oval whenever they pleased, and influencing policy. Besides, Kelly was never going to be Trump’s kind of guy, first because he would have kept insisting that the Chief of Staff ought to have something to say about how the White House was managed, and second because he would have articulated a vision of management that involved discipline, order, logic, and controlled access to the President, whose time was presumed to be precious. He probably tried to pencil in briefings on The Donald’s day planner that started before 1PM. He probably tried to get The Donald to read his President’s Daily Brief, arguably the most important document produced by any bureaucracy on Earth, and when you think about it, probably as interesting as all get out, but it’s all words and no pictures, so not Donald’s cup of tea. Maybe he suggested that Trump could perhaps forgo one weekend of golf, and stick around to handle a few pressing matters involving the nuclear deterrent, or the redeployment of the troops still squatting at the border doing scut work and building latrines for the Border Patrol. That sort of thing. Hopeless. Even John Kelly, a career soldier who held General’s rank and proved himself a tough and rather nasty customer, was condemned to try each day to shovel out the tide with a fork. The Trump White House is ungovernable.
Thus it was also a surprise to absolutely nobody when Trump couldn’t find anybody to take Kelly’s place. Would you be eager to grasp the slippery handle of that overfilled shit bucket? Would anybody with the sense God gave geese? Surely not, not even the most oily climbers and lickspittles. Apart from the daily abuse and futility, you’d need to hire a lawyer for when everybody who ever came within 1500 yards of the West Wing is handed one of those subpoenas that Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler will be giving out as New Year’s presents. Trump doesn’t think so, but good legal help really costs you. So, offer after offer was turned down.
First to flee the building screaming was a kid named Nick Ayers, the Chief of Staff for Mike Pence – a role that probably involves very little, besides occasionally dusting and watering the Veep – who was the one Jarvanka wanted. All of 36, and rumoured to be almost psychotically ambitious, Ayers nevertheless behaved as if he’d been asked to eat a bowl of tarantulas before being hammered in the nuts by a croquet mallet. Then a Congressman with a Tea Party pedigree, Mark Meadows, was floated. Nope. Then the appalling Church Weasel and cable news goblin Rick Santorum, who trust me, has nothing better to do, took his name off the list. Flailing, now, Trump approached Chris Christie, the ex-sycophant and deeply humiliated former New Jersey Governor, who was made the butt of Trump’s fat jokes before being kicked off the transition team. Thanks, but no thanks. There was even a terrifying Newt Gingrich sighting, which had me hyperventilating for a while, but his appointment was probably never likely, if it was considered at all. Bloviating dimwits stake out territory like they’re Siberian Tigers. Trump would never have volunteered to fight for oxygen with a blowhard as loud and motor-mouthed as Newt.
I wonder if anybody suggested they get poor, quivering Reince Priebus back? Things got so bad it was rumoured that Jared Kushner might get the job, an idea that prompted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes to Tweet “Oh hell yes!” That would have been a ball to watch, no two ways about it, but in the end, somehow, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was coerced into taking on the task in an “acting” capacity. If I was him, I’d have stipulated a fixed term of no more than nine weeks.
Now, Mick Mulvaney, frankly, is a craven asshole. Once a Congressman, he became famous for championing the Divine Right of Financial Institutions, portraying bank regulation and consumer protection as abominable affronts to both God and Nature. He thought the new and immediately hamstrung Consumer Protection Bureau was a temple for those who prayed for the imminent arrival of the One Who Bears the Mark of the Beast. This, mind you, in the immediate aftermath of what narrowly missed being the most devastating economic collapse in history, when a bunch of freebooting Wall Street buccaneers put everything on Double Zero and gave the old wheel a spin. Regulate those guys? Oversight? Why?
What Mick wanted to do as Budget Director was make Paul Ryan’s wet dreams come true, and gut every part of the Federal Government that didn’t involve dropping munitions on Muslim foreigners. He was deeply frustrated, and bitterly disappointed, when this proved hard to do, having underestimated the extent to which Congressman love spending public money and slathering the pork. Still, he couldn’t possibly have been disgruntled enough in his current role to have harboured any delusion that Chief of Staff might be more satisfying. He’s an asshole, not a slobbering brainstem.
He actually comes off as quite clever, in an evil, facile, Antonin Scalia kind of way, and it’s hard to figure why he agreed to walk the plank on this one. Chief of Staff is no sinecure at the best of times, and it’s shaping up to be a hell of a bumpy ride in 2019. Sure, there was a time when it would have been worth it. It used to be you could take the Chief of Staff résumé and land something sweet later on, like become mayor of a big city, or a big wheel at an oil company. Not anymore, though. If you aided and abetted the Trump Disaster, nobody will touch you with a barge pole. You’re ruined. Guys with ebola are invited to more job interviews. They might as well issue the poor slob a sidearm, one round only, so he can blow his own brains out when it’s time to leave.
Oh well. Looks good on him. I hope Trump screams at him like he used to do with Jeff Sessions, whose constant humiliation before he got the boot was wonderful to watch. I hope The Donald throws staplers at him, or whatever hefty items can be found in or about the bare Resolute Desk. I hope Trump makes him cry. I hope they don’t even offer him a blindfold when he’s up against the wall, as must be the fate of all who stray within Trump’s radius of doom, sooner or later.
Good on ya’ Mickey! Attaboy! Take one for the team! Right where it hurts, if you please. Oh, and you may as well give up on the rest of that thinning hair.