Donald Trump is bracing to go to war with Robert Mueller and company to do whatever is necessary to put together a group of “ride or die” supporters who are willing to go down with the ship if necessary. Trump had believed that he had built a cabinet of such people, but his level of turnover tells a different story.
New York Magazine says that it’s a mistake to think that Trump will take on anyone who flatters him. Flattery alone is no longer enough, and Trump is sifting through the pile to find those true believers, the publication wrote. It’s hard to notice amid the drama, but Trump did change course this week after people criticized him.
Ann Coulter, whose style of attack is similar to Trump, goaded him into changing tack and refusing to sign an agreement which would keep the government open until at least February. She then called him out in public to spur him into action.
“Gutless President in Wall-less Country.”
Coulter’s questioning of his behavior caused Trump to hunker down, while Jim Mattis’ concern ended with the Secretary of Defense resigning in protest. Now with the thought of Mueller and others closing in, NY Magazine’s Jonathan Chait believes that Trump is surrounding himself with those “ride or die” folks who will stay with him until the bitter end.
— Debra Sullenberger (@DebraSullenber1) December 21, 2018
People like Matthew Whitaker and William Barr have proven themselves before they were even tapped by speaking out about Robert Mueller and coming up with battle strategies before they were even put in a position to do so.
In his piece, Chait wondered what else would cause Whitaker to stay the course even after an ethics group warned him in advance to stop and recuse himself.
“He [Trump] installed a loyalist as Acting Attorney General, the comical hack Matthew Whitaker, and Whitaker has ignored the advice of ethics officials at the Department and refused to recuse himself from the Mueller probe. Trump’s nominee to fill the position permanently, William Barr, has staked out an extreme anti-Mueller stance.”
The writer added that to believe that the only litmus test for Trump would be gushing compliments would be wrong, because for better or worse, Donald Trump does have a certain set of skills to recruit those, like Stephen Miller, who are willing to be ruthless.
“For all his mental limitations, Trump does have a mobster’s talent for identifying character (or, more precisely, the lack of it). Trump is surrounding himself with lackeys who are untroubled by his corruption and immorality. And Trump grasps that he cannot win a fight like this without the rabid support of his ethno-nationalist base and its media. For all the childish emotions that surround his actions, we can discern in them a pattern — a survival strategy,” Chait concluded.