Conservative author Eliot Cohen is taking stock of President Donald Trump’s most recent White House personnel moves — and he’s not liking what he’s seeing.
With the ousters of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and top economic adviser Gary Cohn, Cohen believes that Trump is simply trying to oust anyone who will challenge his preconceived notions — and instead replace them with unrepentant brown nosers.
“If you hope to influence Trump or gain access to his inner circle, you have to go full Mnuchin,” he writes in an essay published by The Atlantic. The Secretary of the Treasury is shameless in his flattery of the president. One suspects that his sycophancy is matched by his cynicism.”
The incentives that this creates, Cohen believes, will be less than idea for successful governing, as it will encourage advisers to suck up to Trump even as they try to knife each another in the back.
“The upshot of such an environment in the White House is that… it will become more than ever the conniving and dishonest court of an unpredictable, ill-informed, and willful monarch,” he writes. “The president will hear no forceful disagreements; he will not be contradicted; he will believe that his instincts and whims are invariably correct.”
The endgame, Cohen believes, will be to drive out anyone who cares about governing, thus leaving behind a White House filled with “scoundrels, opportunists, and very rare patriots who know that there can be no trust among each other or towards their leader.”