'Survival of the filthiest': Conservative explains how Trump aides flourish and others are destroyed by his 'culture of corruption'
White House senior advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump stand behind the president in the Oval Office (Twitter)

In a brutally blunt column for the Daily Beast, conservative Matt Lewis accuses close aides and appointees of the president of being willing participants in what he calls "trickle-down Trumpism" that rewards the sycophants and punishes truth-tellers.

According to longtime Republican Lewis who has become one of the president's most virulent critics, the highly controversial and unceremonious firing of Navy Captain Brett Crozier is a perfect example of what can happen if the president feels slighted and a Trump appointee seeks to find favor with his boss.

"Consider the case of the acting Navy Secretary who reassigned the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and referred to him as 'stupid' during a speech to the ship's crew," he wrote. " Just as the mob boss doesn't have to explicitly order a hit ('nice house you got there, it’d be a shame if something happened to it…'), Trump didn’t have to ask, Who shall rid me of this troublesome captain?' for Navy brass to know exactly how to treat Captain Crozier, whose letter pleading for help with a coronavirus outbreak on his ship risked embarrassing them—and the president. Indeed, one danger of not acting as quickly as Trump would want is that failing to do so might invite his intervention."

The conservative then pointed out how the president treated a Navy Seal accused of murder by his fellow soldiers.

"Consider the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes. He was granted clemency by Trump after his comrades risked their careers to report his alleged atrocities," Lewis recalled. "And what about the Navy Secretary who wanted to remove Gallagher’s Trident, thus preserving some semblance of proper discipline and adherence to a normal chain-of-command? He was removed. A victim of the ultimate cancel culture. The nail that sticks up gets hammered down. That’s how we are being trained to conform to Trumpism."

Using that as a springboard, Lewis explained, "Trickle-down Trumpism doesn't just prove Hayek's maxim that in an authoritarian regime, the 'worst get on top.' It’s not survival of the fittest, it’s survival of the filthiest. It also proves the notion that 'no good deed goes unpunished.'"

"Trump values attributes like toughness, loyalty (to him), and (the perception of) winning. He has no interest in things like the rule of law, fighting corruption, or prudence. And he hates it when other people grab the spotlight, blow the whistle (on behavior that reflects poorly on him), or otherwise raise topics that might be inconvenient," he elaborated. "Trump’s style and priorities are contagious—even absent direct contact. It’s a culture of corruption that is infecting even our most revered institutions."

Tying it to the current coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 22,000 Americans -- and reports that Dr. Anthony Fauci is now being smeared by Trump acolytes -- Lewis warned, "Ironically, this is coming to a head at the very moment when the tragic consequences of a culture that punishes truth-tellers have never been more apparent and terrifying."

"Trump has created a culture that figuratively murders the messenger and rewards the executioner," he concluded. " The moral of the story is obvious. And if Trump loses re-election in 2020, it might end up being the cautionary tale that comes to define his presidency."

You can read more here (subscription required).