As Donald Trump continues to make statements that signal support of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, already we have seen one presidential advisory panel after another being disbanded as people try to disassociate themselves from the toxic cloud that has enveloped the administration. Various charities have withdrawn from using Trump’s Florida resort for their fund-raisers. However, evangelical leaders are remaining steadfast.
As a result, people working in his administration are facing pressure to explain why, by continuing to remain in his administration, they cannot be considered to be complicit in those sentiments. Some have responded by asserting that Trump is neither racist nor white nationalist and that the ‘fake news’ media are unfairly portraying him as such by taking his statements out of context. These are the true believers, those who have drunk deeply of the Kool Aid. Among them is treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin who responded to a letter signed by over 350 of his Yale classmates calling on him to resign by saying:
“[A]s someone who is Jewish, I believe I understand the long history of violence and hatred against the Jews (and other minorities).”
I feel compelled to let you know that the President in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways.
I don’t believe the allegations against the President are accurate, and I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the President in his administration should be reassuring to you.
But others are conceding that Trump has toxic views but are finding noble reasons for staying on, saying that they have been able to prevent even worse actions by Trump and that if they leave, the people who will replace them will be far worse. But complicating the fact is that naked self-interest may be lurking behind these seemingly noble reasons.
Well, no one comes out and say it this blatantly. But working in the White House, even this one, is intoxicating and ego-stroking. They have enormous say over regulations and rules, invites and implementation, government jobs and access to the Oval. They also know they are one step away from an even bigger job in government, so it’s hard to just walk away.
Leaving aside the question of self-interest and taking the suggestion that their presence prevents worse things at face value, one has to think that this might have been true with a Richard Nixon who was at least a strategic thinking person. With Trump, you get the feeling that he will do as he damned well pleases whatever his aides may say or do and that their presence is like someone trying to block a steamroller. If they persist, it will simply crush them as it lumbers on.