In a scathing column in the New York Times, economist Paul Krugman posed (and answered) the question that dogs many observers of Donald Trump's White House: Why are so many of his top advisers sticking around when it appears that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has the goods on him?
According to the Nobel Prize-winning economist, what is left in the White House is the "worst and dumbest" of his hires who have nowhere else to go because they are incompetent.
Under the NYT headline, "Donald Trump and His Team of Morons," Krugman wrote of Trump, "There have been many policy disasters over the course of U.S. history. It’s hard, however, to think of a calamity as gratuitous, an error as unforced, as the current federal shutdown. Nor can I think of another disaster as thoroughly personal, as completely owned by one man."
"You can’t fully make sense of his policy pratfalls without acknowledging the extraordinary quality of the people with whom he has surrounded himself," he continued before getting to the point. "And by 'extraordinary,' of course, I mean extraordinarily low quality. Lincoln had a team of rivals; Trump has a team of morons."
In that vein, Krugman called out several of the President key advisers for their tone-deaf comments about the president's shutdown, including Kevin Hassett, chairman of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers, who said the furloughed workers should considered their enforced non-paid status a "vacation."
"You don’t have to be a public relations expert to know that you’re supposed to express some sympathy, whether you feel it or not. After all, there are multiple news reports about transportation security," Krugman wrote.
Krugman didn't spare some of Trump's advisers who don't hold official positions in the White House, singling out Fox News personality Sean Hannity for lamenting the plight of rich people who may be forced to take less extravagant vacations in a down economy.
"Even if your real reason for favoring low taxes is that they let your wealthy friends engage in even more high living, you’re not supposed to say that out loud," Krugman suggested before getting around to one of the many factors that ails his administration: those White House "morons."
"There’s the Trump effect," he explained. "Normally working for the president of the United States is a career booster, something that looks good on your résumé. Trump’s presidency, however, is so chaotic, corrupt and potentially compromised by his foreign entanglements that anyone associated with him gets tainted — which is why after only two years he has already left a trail of broken men and wrecked reputations in his wake."
"So who is willing to serve him at this point?" he proposed. "Only those with no reputation to lose, generally because they’re pretty bad at what they do. There are, no doubt, conservatives smart and self-controlled enough to lie plausibly, or at least preserve some deniability, and defend Trump’s policies without making fools of themselves. But those people have gone into hiding."
As he noted at the end, those who are still there have been distilled down from 'the worst and the dumbest" to "even worse and even dumber."
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