Job terminations in Trump world follow a predictable pattern. First, Trump gripes about how “disloyal” the person is, (disloyality is the one and only unforgivable sin), which gins up the rumor mill that another firing is in the works. Then, Trump goes out of his way to validate the person in question, and indeed the intended firee usually claims how totally happy s/he is in his or her position, and anything to the contrary is fake news. John Kelly was the poster child for this proposition. Next, comes innuendo, like “I think he sounds like a Democrat,” and “this is Washington, everybody leaves,” said with respect to James Mattis. Then boom, down comes the butter knife of Damocles. Right now, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats is at phase one. Washington Post:
In venting his anger at Coats, the president was following a familiar pattern that precedes his dismissal of Cabinet officials. Trump often grouses about disloyalty with the understanding that his interlocutors will speak to reporters, thereby putting the offending official on notice that their days are numbered.
Trump is still “enraged” about Coats’s congressional testimony on national security threats last month, believing that the director undercut the president’s authority when he shared intelligence assessments about Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State that are at odds with many of Trump’s public statements, said one adviser who spoke with the president over the weekend.
Trump had seemed to put the episode behind him and claimed shortly after the hearing that Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel told him they’d been “misquoted” in their comments at the televised hearing.
But privately, the president has continued to fume, and this weekend he told the adviser that Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, is “not loyal” and “he’s not on the team.”
“Not on the team,” is pretty much the same thing as “sounds like a Democrat.” However, another way to look at this situation, is that it’s a miracle that Coats has lasted this long. He certainly didn’t endear himself to Trump last July at the Aspen Security Forum, when a reporter asked Coats about the fact that Trump had just invited Vladimir Putin to the White House — a matter of which Coats knew nothing. His response, “Okaaaaay — that’s going to be special,” caused the room to erupt in laughter and the internet to explode. Trump was purportedly livid at that, accusing Coats of humiliating him in a room of important people.
So far there have been 42 major firings or resignations, starting with Mike Flynn and ending with Raj Shah in December.
Here’s a link to read the chart above in legible form. Needless to say, it’s described by that tired old workhorse of a word, “unprecedented.” Poor unprecedented. That word is going to drop in it’s traces from exhaustion before this administration is over.
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