On Trump and His Methods

by Col Pat Lang Sic Semper Tyrannis Dec 10, 2018

In my opinion, Trump has no real use for a chief-of-staff in the White House.

I heard Anthony Scaramucci (the little guy who was in the WH for a couple of days) say on TeeVee yesterday that Donaldo has his own way of doing things that involves establishing a “hub and spokes” system and that he needs people he trusts and who accept his personal judgment, judgment based on his own “feel” for situations.

I have seen this kind of methodology many times before in the world of sole owner entrepreneurial business.  In that world egotism is king and the owner/wheeler dealer stands alone surrounded by underlings and consultants.  For him they are nothing.

They are expendable assets who exist only to serve his egocentric will and interests.  They are there to be useful to him and can be disposed of whenever they are not.   Trump operates exactly that way.  Subordinates are disposable at will.  Institutions mean nothing to such a man.  He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a “player.”  Anyone who takes the job is a fool.

In this context the case of the Trump announcement, a year in advance of his term’s end, of a replacement for the CJCS, General Joseph Dunford USMC is interesting. Trump announced General Mark Milley, the present US Army Chief-Of-Staff, will succeed.  The question is – why announce now?  And why announce this now with a “footnote” to the effect that the “transfer” date will be announced at some future unspecified date?

Milley is a loquacious, big, and energetic man who is reportedly quite good at the backslapping, locker room chit-chat that Trump is comfortable with.  He undoubtedly has made a good impression on Trump in personal contacts and impression is all important in dealing with Trump.

OTOH Milley is really not like Trump.  He is an Ivy League product of Princeton and Columbia Universities, is widely read in history, is personally as brave as a lion on the battlefield and has a record of working well within the institutions of the armed forces for systematic re-structuring of the Army.   I will guess that the president doesn’t really know much about Milley.  IMO he will inevitably and quickly be displeased with Milley when he is CJCS.

So, why has Trump done this?  My present theory is that DJT is displeased with Dunford and wishes to hold over his head the threat of quick dismissal.

This is a close analogy of the way people like Trump operate in business where it is routine to undermine subordinates for the purpose of creating insecurity leading to prostrate submission to the throne.


Thomas Jefferson (1854). “The writings of Thomas Jefferson: being his autobiography, correspondence, reports, messages, addresses, and other writings, official and private,” p.404

His “gut,” and not his brain is how he runs everything?

Yes.  Truthiness. Trump says that is how he “rolls.”  Indicators this is true are everywhere.  He does not believe what the “swampies” tell him.  He listens to the State Department, the CIA, DoD, etc. and then acts on ill informed instinct and information provided by; lobbies, political donors, foreign embassies, and his personal impressions of people who have every reason to want to deceive him.

As I wrote earlier he sees the world through an entrepreneurial hustler’s lens.  He crudely assigns absolute dollar values to policy outcomes and actions which rarely have much to do with the actual world even if they might have related to the arena of contract negotiations.  He evidently learned about balance sheets at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and wishes to apply the principle of the bottom line to everything.

I will guess Trump resisted taking elective courses in the Humanities as much as he could believing them to be useless.  That is unfortunate, since such courses tend to provide context for present day decisions.  I have known several very rich businessmen of similar type who sent their children to business school with exactly that instruction with regard to literature, history, philosophy, etc.

From an espionage case officer’s perspective, Trump is an easy mark.  If you are in regular contact with him, all that is needed to recruit him is to convince him that you believe in the “genius” manifested in his mighty ego and swaggering bluster, and then slowly feed him what you want him to “know.”  This does not mean he has been recruited by someone or something, but the vulnerability is evident.

In my opinion, the mistake he made in surrounding himself with neocons and other special pleaders, people like Pompeo and Bolton, is evidence he is very controllable by the clever and subtle.


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