This is how a chief of protocol behaves?

You would think that the person in the government with the title of Chief of Protocol, who assists the president on overseas trips and briefs the president on protocol, would know proper behavior and practice it. But when you are talking about the Trump administration, all such bets are off. The old norms just do not apply anymore and boorish behavior abounds. But just before Trump left for the G20 summit in Japan, Sean Lawler resigned from the post.

Why? I am glad that you asked. Apparently he was the subject of an investigation for harassment and discrimination. But what jumped out at me was that “Lawler has been accused of intimidating staff and bringing a whip into the office”.

Really? He brought a whip to the office to intimidate his staff? What exactly did he do with it? Crack it when he wanted to get people’s attention? Give people lashes when they did not perform their duties satisfactorily?



  1. Matt G says

    If he had a staff of Democrats, I might be able to understand the whip business. But his staff is OTHER REPUBLICANS!! If this is how they treat EACH OTHER, why would anyone be a Republican??

  2. bargearse says

    My guess regarding the whip? It’s an attempt at a joke by someone who is functionally incapable of understanding humour. Trump and those surrounding him all seem to conflate cruel with funny.

  3. mastmaker says

    The moment I gave up hope of having meaningful friendship was the moment when a mild mannered nice older man (temporarily in a cubicle across from me) shared a ‘funniest’ video of a ‘prank’ where people getting into an elevator were scared by turning off elevator lights and then an apparition of a child appearing before them. Everyone except me were in stitches, while I stared in horror at people getting traumatized. That’s when I realized I cannot depend on anyone to be empathetic or human.

  4. John Morales says

    mastmaker, so, people were amused by something that appalled you. OK

    How it supposedly follows that therefore at you cannot depend on anyone to be empathetic or human is opaque to me. To put it kindly.

    (Also, hate to tell you this, but all humans are human, no matter how they behave. That’s just definitional)

  5. John Morales says


    At the risk of getting personal, you sound like a depressed person, mastmaker, when you repudiate hope though it costs you nothing.

    (Hope is not expectation, you do know)

  6. mastmaker says

    It is not that people were amused by something that appalled me. It is that people were amused at (other) people being traumatized. These are the people I work with, and I thought I knew. People I came to respect and trust. This event made me realize what’s happening all my life: I get disillusioned with people close to me because of their attitude towards (in no particular order): human suffering, tribalism, us vs them, religion, wars, taxes.

    Differences of opinion are expected. We are not robots programmed to think and act the same way. But the (almost universal) lack of certain level of empathy and humanity is disconcerting.

  7. Mano Singham says


    I recall that child ghost ‘prank’ and blogged back in 2012 about how appalled I was by it. The embedded video of the prank has now disappeared, however.

  8. mastmaker says

    Mano, Thanks for reinforcing my thought process.

    I didn’t know you blogged about it. Apparently I am not following you for long enough!

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    But when you are talking about the Trump administration…

    Quite true, but irrelevant in this case: apparently Lawler’s career in the State Dept goes back for decades.

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