Donald J. Trump likes to brag about knowing good people, who are the best, and whom he will hire to help solve the nation’s problems if he is elected president. When asked about policy specifics, the ever-vague Trump eventually resorts to his “good people” line instead of talking details and substance. Since Donald Trump wants the American public – and the media – to trust his judgment in people, and since Trump (rightfully, if evasively) equates policy with personnel, it is worth looking at who Trump has surrounded himself with on the campaign trail.
Of all the people Trump consults on policy and political matters, the one who stands above the rest is Donald Trump. In March, Trump told MSNBC that he is his own number one foreign policy adviser and that he frequently speaks with himself on such matters. “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,” Trump confidently asserted before confiding that “my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”
On the campaign trail in Wisconsin, Trump told young voters “You’ll find that when you become very successful, the people that you will like best are the people that are less successful than you.” Sounds like somebody doesn’t really like surrounding himself with successful, smart people are good and are the best. “Always be around unsuccessful people because everybody will respect you,” Trump suggested as a recipe for greatness.
Perhaps his candid moment explaining his human resources strategy explains why Trump has surrounded himself with a truly unbelievable cast of characters including Corey Lewandowski. Trump’s campaign manager is at best a bully, and while he won’t face any legal headaches for a physical dustup with a female reporter, Lewandowski’s history of volatility towards co-workers and professional associates was apparently legendary prior to his job as the conductor of the Trump campaign.
Katrina Pearson is Trump’s campaign spokesperson, and back in January Leon Wolf at RedState dug up a gem of an e-mail Pearson once sent to Erick Erickson (she misspelled his name) fuming about an editorial written by Gov. Rick Perry. The incident long pre-dated her time on the Trump campaign, but raises a few questions about her competence. More recently, Pearson demonstrated her historical illiteracy by doubling down on Trump campaign rhetoric comparing the Cruz campaign to the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police responsible for numerous atrocities, killings, and human rights abuses prior to and during World War II.
Roger Stone, a “master of political dirty tricks” according to Politico, was fired from the Trump campaign in August 2015 despite his long and close relationship with the candidate. But his formal departure hasn’t meant that Stone has stopped working for his buddy. His latest “strategy” to help Trump at the Republican National Convention in Ohio this summer is to threaten the release of hotel addresses for each delegate who may dare to oppose Trump. A 2008 profile of Stone in The New Yorker captures Stone’s bottom feeding tactics and sleazy lifestyle quite well.
The latest addition to the Trump team is Rick Wiley, a Republican operative who is now best known for wrecking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s presidential hopes this cycle. Under Wiley’s leadership, Walker’s cash-flush campaign managed to burn through money so quickly that the two-term governor dropped out of the race roughly two months after formally announcing his candidacy. Wiley dismissed his extravagant ways saying, “We didn’t have a spending problem. We had a revenue problem.” Shortly after the Walker campaign ended, Wiley – in a shameless act of self-preservation – gushed to Politico that his job had been hard because the candidate was someone who needed a lot of help to get ready for the national stage. The bottom line in Rick Wiley’s mind: He was the victim of an unprepared candidate.
Trump is absolutely correct when he draws a correlation between the people an executive hires and the quality of work an organization does. Looking at his track record just over the course of this campaign, the vague “good ideas” that are going to magically emanate from the great folks the Donald hires are a mirage and a fantasy.