Since the early days of the president’s transition, the Trump team has been especially thorough in vetting job applicants for their loyalty to the president and his policies, with their social-media profiles and writings scoured for anti-Trump posts.
Any casual look at the literature studying autocracies demonstrates the degree to which this sort of behavior is one of their hallmarks. Trump demonstrates a high level of autocratic leadership that prioritize loyalty over competence, regarding subordinates and others who demonstrate fealty with plum positions, access and multiple opportunities to profit, while turning a blind eye to blatant corruption. Those who are deemed disloyal are not just banished, but jettisoned in humiliating rituals.
Even tepid comments in opposition could torpedo nominees, current and former officials said. Trump himself would sometimes ask if candidates were “Never Trump” or if they supported him during the general election, officials have said. Having posted on social media with the hashtag “#NeverTrump” or having signed a public letter in opposition to his candidacy made the nomination a non-starter.
Candidates have had to prove loyalty to the president, with many still being blocked for previous statements. Hundreds of national security officials, for example, were nixed from consideration because they spoke out against Trump during the campaign.
The obsession with loyalty and the urge to punish all those who don’t demonstrate it explains a great deal about the Trump presidency.
Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt’s multiple failures of ethics and good governance are all but ignored, but Veteran’s Affairs Secretary David Shulkin got the news of his firing via a presidential tweet. (Added note about Scott Pruitt’s position that ended for spending tax payers dollars for personal use)
Betsy DeVos, whose knowledge of education policy doesn’t even put her in the category of precocious amateur hobbyist, is allowed to remain as Secretary of Education, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not only learned he was out while on the can, Trump administration officials made sure work of that particular humiliation got out.
Another example was physician Ronny Jackson. It wasn’t that something went wrong with the vetting process when Trump decided the White House physician should take on the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s that Jackson passed the one vetting process that mattered with flying colors. Just a reminder: Jackson all but slobbered over the president. Jackson didn’t just pronounce Trump’s health excellent, he claimed in sycophantic fashion that the 71-year-old president has “more stamina and more energy” than many of the younger staff surrounding him.
By these standards, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, whose verbal contortions in defense of Trump was a daily spectacle, also did a bang-up job. Her priority was buttressing Trump no matter what, and she defended the most outrageous of his statements.
Companies that wanted to do business unmolested by the Trump administration had to feel the need to demonstrate loyalty. This was almost certainly that explained the unseemly rush by American corporations to announce one-time worker bonuses they claimed were directly tied to the tax-reform legislation, but were already planned at the beginning of the year. The tax-reform legislation gave the one percent and corporations a fat payday, while leaving the middle class with a minuscule cut and the lower class with a higher burden that will end at the end of 2025, while making the tax cut for high income and corporation permanent.
There were many examples of what happens when a business didn’t show what Trump believes is the proper respect due him. Trump’s ordered the post office to review their finances after claiming that Amazon, among other countries, did not pay adequate rates for shipping, appeared clearly tied to Trump’s dislike of The Post and Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon.
No one of course is more loyal than family. As a result, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter was allowed to temporarily sit in for Trump at the Group of 20 and privately briefed South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Trump’s then just-announce sanctions against North Korea. Son-in-law Jared Kushner continues to serve as an advisor despite not having a security clearance (for unknown reasons), only to be overridden by the President. He has also used his trips under the disguise of foreign policy to secure business loans for his family companies.
Trump’s values conflate demonstrated commitment to him and his personal agenda with suitability for government service and competence to do the job at hand.
Let’s just say it out loud and clear, loyalty tests have no place in a democracy. Now we have the president’s direct request to have foreign leaders, who prove their loyalty, to interfere in the 2020 elections by digging up dirt on his political opponents. The Congress has just started an impeachment inquiry against this president who just issue a declaration of defiance of the Congress, the constitution, and the courts by sending a letter stating that they lack authority for an impeachment inquiry, and that he was immune from prosecution.
I would hope everyone would spread this phrase across the entire country, Let’s just say it out loud and clear, loyalty tests have no place in a democracy.
Comment from: The Gambling Cowboy Visitor
Testing the new sign in questions. Revolution 2020.