Donald Trump’s “Fine People”

Donald Trump has casually referred to various nominees and appointees during his administration as “fine people,” “wonderful people,” or “great people.” But, recalling what Groucho Marx famously said about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him, perhaps we should see it as suspect when Donald Trump heaps praise on someone. Trump’s accuracy in declaring people to be stellar human beings hasn’t exactly been spot-on. Are Trump’s proclamations about “fine people” and “great relationships” dishonest, or just insincere?

Below are just a few whom Trump has at one time deemed “fine people”:

Tom Price, former Secretary of Health and Human Services: Fired for using military and private jets for personal use (at taxpayers’ expense). Just shortly before his dismissal, Trump pronounced him “a very, very fine man.”

Scott Pruitt, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Resigned amid numerous legal and ethics scandals. In April of 2018, Trump said of Pruitt, “He’s a good man.”

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman: Found guilty of eight counts of tax and bank fraud.

After Manafort was convicted, Trump tweeted, “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family…Such respect for a brave man!” and “Manafort is a good man, and the conviction is very sad,” praising Manafort for “refusing to break,” and portraying him as a victim of “Justice.”

Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor: Fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence. Another “fine man,” according to Donald Trump.

Rob Porter, former White House Staff Secretary, who left his post amid allegations of spousal abuse of two former wives:

“People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Tweeted Trump. (Does this sound familiar?)

Incidentally, earlier in 2018, it was reported that Trump had said he hoped Porter could come back to work at the White House.

Most recently, Donald Trump has praised Supreme Court nominee (now seated Supreme Court justice) Brett Kavanaugh, by saying, “Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you’ll ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting.”

Trump’s supporters believe him and support Trump’s opinion of Kavanaugh. Though the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh have not been proven, Kavanaugh’s demeanor and responses during questioning about the allegations have brought up speculation about his integrity and his fitness as a Supreme Court judge. We can only wait and see if Kavanaugh belongs on Trump’s list of “fine people.”

Trump Says Brett Kavanaugh Is A “Fine Fine Person” | TIME [2018-09-21]

Will Trump keep national security adviser Michael Flynn? | Fox Business [2018-02-13]

Former Trump Staff Members: A New Job is Hard to Find

One would think that having worked for a president – any president – would make someone extremely employable – but this is apparently not so for former Trump staff members. Those who have left the Trump administration, as well as those who are looking to leave, are finding that no one wants to hire them. Many companies consider hiring a former Trump staff member to be too risky.

James Joyner, of Outside the, writes that one Washington consultant who recruits government officials for the private sector said, “There’s a legal risk there…a certain level of uncertainness around the toxicity. Generally, there aren’t a ton of jobs waiting for those people.”

“Legal risk” refers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, as well as the other legal troubles that engulf the current White House. Many firms see it as potentially hazardous to hire a former Trump staff member who worked in the White House during the time of these investigations; what if their new hire is implicated?

The toxic environment of the Trump White House is troubling to many firms, who see former Trump staff members as tainted by it. Did they contribute to the toxicity? Did they support it? Are they toxic themselves?

According to Joyner, a bipartisan public affairs firm in Washington has stated that it will not hire former Trump staff members because doing so could damage the firm’s reputation. Companies who have traditionally considered it a win to hire people associated with a presidential administration do not want to hire those associated with the current administration – one they see as that of “a president famously disloyal to his people.”

Due to the high turnover in the Trump administration, the penchant for Trump to fill posts on a whim, and the fact that many highly qualified people simply declined to be part of Trump’s administration, Trump has ultimately hired what many consider to be “second- and third-tier.” Consequently, former Trump staff members are not always viewed as high-caliber.

It’s often a little challenging for members of a former administration to find jobs when the opposite party gains control. Though it’s tempting to blame partisanship for the wary and unfriendly hiring conditions facing former Trump staff members, the firms and recruiters who say they won’t be hiring them are largely bipartisan. Even those firms who align more with the right are just too wary of the risks of hiring a former Trump staff member.

Insider: President Trump White House Is ‘Most Toxic’ Workplace On Earth | The 11th Hour | MSNBC [2018-03-14]

An inside look at the White House staff dynamics | Fox Business [2017-05-30]