Donald Trump reportedly mocked members of George W. Bush’s administration as “Bushies” and called them the “establishment,” but now a spate of resignations from his own administration has forced Trump to call on this group for help.
As Politico reported, Trump has brought on a number of key members of Bush’s administration in recent months, filling holes from short-lived members of his own team. The heads of the departments of Homeland Security, Labor, State, Health and Human Services, and Treasury are all members of Bush’s former administration. There are a number of Bush alums in Trump’s legal and domestic policy offices as well, the report noted.
The shift to include more Bush officials has riled up some of Trump’s more conservative backers who had hoped Trump would appoint them to the posts instead, the report noted. One former transition official said Trump’s senior staff has blocked some of the president’s campaign loyalists from the top cabinet positions.
“And Trump wonders why he can’t get anything done,” the unnamed official told Politico. “It was hard in January 2018 to imagine Trump senior personnel decision-making to get any worse. But it has.”
The move comes as Trump was hit with a week of high-profile resignations following his announcement that he was pulling U.S. troops out of Syria. Defense Secretary James Mattis, who was reportedly not consulted on the move, turned in his resignation letter and blasted Trump in doing so.
As Reuters noted, the resignation letter “implicitly criticized Trump for failing to value America’s closest allies, who fought alongside the United States in both conflicts.” The report noted that Trump was furious with the letter, and announced Sunday that he was replacing Mattis two months earlier than initially planned.
James Mattis was not the only one to resign over the decision. Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to ISIS who oversees the fight against the Islamic militant group, also resigned after Trump’s announcement. As BBC News reported, McGurk had frequently stressed the importance of keeping U.S. troops in Syria until ISIS was defeated.
Trump is taking a vast political risk that George W. Bush and Barack Obama carefully avoided: being weak on terrorism. https://t.co/M5s2yYPAMR— David Rohde (@RohdeD) December 23, 2018
There had long been tension between Donald Trump and members of the Bush family. He frequently attacked Jeb Bush during the 2016 Republican primary and was criticized at times by all members of the Bush family. The rift culminated when the family reportedly asked that Trump not attend the funeral of Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year. Trump was invited and in attendance when George H.W. Bush died last month.