Now that Donald Trump has managed to gaslight his way to the presidency, he now has to start the process of actually building the team that will help him govern. Apparently that isn’t going so well. According to The Daily Beast, Trump is having a really hard time finding people to fill critical national security positions in his administration.
Two people close to the transition effort told The Daily Beast that a number of Republican intelligence and homeland security professionals have rebuffed efforts to recruit them because they don’t think Trump is fit to be president. One of them recently spoke with the leader of Trump’s national security transition team, and was told that they knew they would have an uphill battle because “everybody that had experience was a never-Trumper.” Indeed, team members feared that they wouldn’t find enough people to work in the Department of Homeland Security between administrations.
It’s not like they didn’t have ample warning. In March, more than 100 Republican national security professionals signed an open letter vowing to do everything in their power to keep Trump out of the White House. According to Paul Rosenzweig, a top homeland security official under George W. Bush, anyone who signed that or any other “never Trump” letter or has indicated opposition to the Donald “is not going to get a job” in a Trump administration.
Rosenzweig thinks that Trump will be able to find people to fill the Cabinet-level posts. However, he may be hard pressed to find people for his team to hold “the jobs that fundamentally matter” to national security. That includes everyone from deputy secretary or deputy administrator on down who actually do the day-to-day work of running the national security apparatus.
It’s hard not to blame them. After all, Trump refuses to accept the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind a wave of cyberattacks directed at the Democratic Party and local elections boards. Michael Hayden, Bush’s former NSA and CIA director, said that Trump’s refusal to accept this solely because it doesn’t match his “preexisting worldview” is not something you would want for anyone leading a democracy. Additionally, Trump’s open discussion about information that he received in classified briefings has left a lot of people wondering if Trump can keep classified information secret.
Trump spent the campaign saying that he would be more aggressive in protecting this country. But the people who have actually done that work know Trump doesn’t have what it takes to be commander-in-chief. And they don’t want to be responsible for anything he does. Now these people are patriots.
(featured image courtesy Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)