Friday, August 4, 2017

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

By now, it should be abundantly clear that the White House has a leaking problem. Last week, Chief of Staff, Reince Prebus, was ousted from his role in the Trump administration, presumably under suspicion that he had been leaking information about the dysfunctional West Wing, or didn't have the clout to stop other staffers that may be leaking information to the press.

So, every administration has faced similar issues with confidential or unfavorable leaks getting to the press. This isn't something new. What separates the Trump administration with previous administrations are the quantity of the leaks and the level of dysfunction these leaks reveal to the world at large.

As a result, the Justice Department is using more law enforcement resources than ever before in pursuit of the sources that are leaking information to the media.

The question that needs to be asked is - what does it say about the Trump administration, when so many people who are currently working in the West Wing are willing to essentially put their careers on the line to share information to the press about the internal workings of our Executive branch? It is supposed to be the honor of a lifetime to serve in the White House, so what does it say about Trump's leadership when the people who serve at the pleasure of the President decide they cannot remain silent when it comes to their working environment? Or, have these folks simply adapted the attitude of Trump - the "me first, no matter what," self-serving approach to the job? To me, this easily indicates a total lack of leadership, not just from the President, but from all senior level advisors and directors. It's clear that this administration lacks the ability to inspire, on top of what appears to be a total lack of trust in anyone outside of Trump's immediate family...and to be honest, I'm not sure that Trump even trusts his own family at this point, and they certainly shouldn't trust him. This is a guy who would throw anyone under the bus to save his own ass.

What I find interesting is that what made Trump so appealing to a number of voters was his acumen as a business tycoon. He promised to stop bureaucracy and introduce an era of governing with a business attitude. Many people were willing to overlook his failures and reputation as a businessman (multiple bankruptcies, not paying contractors, lawsuits, etc.), paying more attention to how Trump marketed himself. For sure, he is a master of marketing, branding, and talking a good game. Where he continually fails is in the grit of business - making tough decisions, being accountable and taking responsibility, and compromise. For the first time, Donald Trump is working for someone else, the American people. The reason he has been able to get away with a less than stellar business record is because he has only had to answer to himself and a nepotistic board of directors. I can guarantee you that if this administration were a business, with Trump being the CEO, he'd be out of a job already and this business would be in emergency mode. No business would put up with their CEO bashing other directors on social media, or appointing inexperienced people to integral roles, just because they are friends or gave him some money, or create new roles out of thin air and appoint family members to lead on issues they have no experience with. Why are we putting up with this? And will we decide to put up with this again, or will we say enough is enough in 2020 (if he makes it that far...I have my doubts)?

Leaks are neither good or totally depends on what information is leaked and how it effects domestic and global policy. In fact, the government has even taken steps to protect leakers and make it harder for Justice Department officials to meddle with a reporter's sources. Even when leakers did damage to Barack Obama's administration, his own Attorney General, Eric Holder, knew the importance of protecting the First Amendment. Where we run into danger is when classified information is leaked to unfriendly sources...something that Donald Trump managed to do all by himself back in May, when he revealed sensitive intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office. And if there's one thing we know about Trump, it's that he has his own hypocritical definitions of fairness and holding people to the same standards, evidenced by the one case of criminal leaking the administration has pursued - the prosecution of contractor Reality Leigh Winner, for leaking a classified intelligence report on Russia's attempt to hack the 2016 election. We know Trump even encouraged WikiLeaks to find damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. To sum up, Trump wants leaks when it benefits him, but when it reveals his incompetence and inability to be an effective leader, he wants those people prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

And the most recent leak sheds more light on a truth that most of us were already savvy to. As the transcripts of Trump's phone calls with other leaders of the world were made available, it cannot be disputed that our diplomacy across the globe has taken a major hit, due to the gross incompetence of our President. Jorge Guajardo, a long-time foreign diplomat from Mexico, has said of the transcript of Trump's phone call with Mexico's president, "He's the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt. He speaks loudly and carries a small stick. Everyone I've spoken to around the world is laughing." To make matters worse, Trump's phone call with Australian Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbill, was just as bad, providing us with solid proof that Trump is the kind of guy who tends to ignore facts, and is willing to weasel out of previous diplomatic agreements if he thinks it makes him look bad.

The old saying goes "The fish rots from the head." And it's never been more true than now. If Trump wants to find the problem in the White House, he needs to only look in the mirror.

In the meantime, with an administration who invented the term "Alternative Facts," and a President who lies about the littlest things, these insider leaks are more than welcome, as truth has become a rare find.

No comments:

Post a Comment