With most of Donald Trump’s senior political advisers having already left the building, his handful of remaining advisers seem to have all figured out one thing that keeps them employed. Their job, as Trump sees it, isn’t to do what they think is best for America, or even what they think is best for Trump. Their job is to say exactly what Trump wants to hear at any given moment, whether it helps Trump or not.
We were reminded of this when Donald Trump’s newly handpicked Attorney General William Barr released an absurdly pro-Trump “summary” of the Mueller report, just as Trump wanted, even though its cartoonish nature has caused the entire coverup to backfire. Barr could have published a more believable summary that was still slanted pro-Trump, and it would have resulted in far less trouble for Trump. But then Barr’s job is to blow smoke at Trump, and he knows it. That brings us to Mick Mulvaney.
Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff is a job that literally no one wants at this point, including Mick Mulvaney, who only agreed to take the promotion in an “acting” capacity. That’s fair, because one could argue that everything Mulvaney does is in an acting capacity, including his appearance on Fox News this morning.
The House Ways and Means Committee is going to get Donald Trump’s tax returns, because there is zero room for interpretation in what the law says about the committee’s powers in this matter. Trump should be surrounding himself with people who have ideas for how to slow the process down, or how to help him survive politically once his tax returns are unearthed. But Trump clearly doesn’t want to hear that. Instead he wants to hear that Congress will somehow magically never get his tax returns. So sure enough, Mick Mulvaney went on Fox today and announced that it’ll indeed never happen. Mulvaney didn’t bother to explain which magic spell he plans to use for making this happen.
Nice try, Mick Mulvaney. It’s one thing to go on Donald Trump’s favorite television channel and tell Trump what he wants to hear. It’s another to say or do anything that might actually help Trump. Every successful leader is surrounded by equally smart people who are willing to say what needs to be said, not just what that leader wants to hear. Trump wants no such thing, which is why he’ll never succeed at this in the end.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report