In an excerpt from his upcoming book, “The Best People: Trump’s Cabinet and the Siege on Washington,” author Alexander Nazaryan describes an interview with the president in the Oval Office where Donald Trump humiliated White House adviser Kellyanne Conway as she sat there and smiled and said nothing.
According to Nazaryan, he met with the president to get his take on how members of his cabinet -- past and present -- have performed, with the president forced to read from a tip sheet sitting on his desk that contained boilerplate compliments about his many appointees.
Trump stated that HUD Secretary Ben Carson, “has done a very good job,” and perfunctorily called Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue all "great." But the author noted the president didn't have anything to say about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"Some of the men and women Trump declined to mention had clearly fallen out of favor. He had, for example, utterly lost faith in Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary ('He’s just not tough,' former chief political strategist Steve Bannon told me of Ross, lack of toughness being one of the worst sins in Trumpworld.) And he had little respect for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who had only gotten the job because she was connected and rich," he wrote.
Of particular note was his appraisal of avid defender Conway as she sat in on the interview -- with the president complaining that she kept him from being interviewed by journalist Bob Woodward for his book on the Trump administration.
"Trump also became upset at senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who was sitting in on the meeting, for apparently keeping Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward from interviewing the president for his own book 'Fear,' which was also critical of Trump," the author recalls. "'Kellyanne didn’t tell me he asked 10 times for a meeting. I wish she did,' he said bitterly of Conway. 'I’m sure it would have been a little bit of a different book.' This obviously bothered him. 'You should have told me,” he went on. Honestly, you should have told me'."
Describing the brutal dressing down, Nazaryan added, "Conway just sat there, taking it as she has doubtlessly taken it from the boss many times before. You couldn’t last in this administration unless you were willing to take it daily, take with a smile and a 'yessir,' take it even while knowing that much of the country loathed you, considered you're complicit in one of the great political crimes in American history."
You can read more on what Trump thinks of his hires here.