Over the last three years, if there has been one thing that’s become abundantly clear about Donald J. Trump as a person — whether real estate mogul, candidate, or President — it’s that he is definitely used to being surrounded by acolytes, yes men, loyalists, criminals, and liars.
That is the only possible explanation for his shock and horror every time he’s betrayed by someone via leaks to the media or resignations or tell-all books: He genuinely believes that everyone around him “knows the deal” and will just play along with anything he wants, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical.
When he subtly tried to convince former FBI Director James Comey to stop looking into his campaign’s national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, he was so taken aback by Comey’s refusal that he unceremoniously fired him. He’s gone through communications directors, campaign managers, top advisors, and chiefs of staff like some people change their socks.
But a few of those people had it worse than some others. Career government servants who Trump simply couldn’t process were in the jobs he hired them away from because they loved their country, rather than being in them for fame or accolades.
That was the case with his former chief of staff John Kelly.
Now, it’s 100 percent on Trump for not just guessing that a retired Marine Corps General would be more faithful to America than to some asshole temporarily leading the country. But unfortunately, the GOP has set such an awful example for this nation that Trump didn’t quite understand that not every Republican is like Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or Lindsey Graham — not all registered Republicans, like John Kelly, will automatically do anything that helps them in the moment without thinking about the consequences or whether it’s good for the country.
Trump and the GOP couldn’t have been more wrong.
Now we’re finding out that Trump committed a serious ethical lapse — and maybe even a crime — and John Kelly kept a record of it in real time.
Early in the administration, it became clear that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner would not be able to get a national security clearance that would allow him to legally have access to top secret information — something that is essentially required in order to hold any position in the West Wing.
In fact, Kushner changed his paperwork so many times it became hard to keep track of all the things he tried to cover up in order to get that clearance.
So what did Trump do? He ordered John Kelly to grant that security clearance to Kushner, despite warnings from several various intelligence officials. Then Trump told everyone, including the New York Times, that he’d had zero role in Kushner’s clearance access. But Kelly took notes. And not just Kelly, but his counsel Don McGahn as well. Both men were so concerned about Trump overriding the warnings of US intelligence that they left a paper trail that would help set the record straight once Trump is gone from the White House.
It turns out that the song Trump keeps using without permission at his rallies may be more true than he thinks: You really can’t always get what you want.
Featured image via screen capture