The President of the United States fired the Secretary of State on Twitter (this is only the third time in our nation’s history that a Secretary of State has been fired).
The President of the United States fired the Secretary of State on Twitter.
The Presid…sorry, my brain just keeps forcing me to write that sentence over and over in order to become convinced that it’s real.
Oh it is. This is the world we live in now.
Rex Tillerson received a call from Chief of Staff John Kelly on Friday saying that a Trump tweet next week would concern him. And…well…
Half an hour later, the State Department released the following statement:
Not long after, Steve Goldstein was out at the State Department. NBC News reported that it was because he contradicted Trump over when Tillerson knew he was getting ousted. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times added to this madness by reporting that this was all part of Trump's larger plan of orderly chaos.
Given that it's safe to assume that Trump is letting himself be Trump, let's put our MAGA hats on and point out the five most obvious candidates to get eliminated from The Apprentice: White House Edition. In no particular order:
The man who replaced Michael Flynn was clearly on thin ice because he dared have a functioning brain separate from the madness in Trumplandia, and Maggie Haberman broke the news as I was writing this. McMaster is gone.
I'm gonna let the big guy tell you in his own words why his Attorney General is…well…unappealing, shall we say.
You may think it's silly to glean insight through Twitter, and in a normal world, you'd be correct. But we don't live in a normal world. We live in a world where the Secretary of State finds out he got canned via Twitter.
Trump has a tenuous relationship with his Chief of Staff. A former Marine, John Kelly was brought into the West Wing to instill order, and…well…in addition to lying to cover up domestic violence perpetrated by his chief deputy, the Kelly era has been anything but organized. Here is just a sampling of headlines when you Google “John Kelly Donald Trump:”
Why John Kelly struggles so much as Trump's chief of staff
John Kelly is the man Fred Trump always wanted Donald to be
Sources: Chief of Staff John Kelly expressed to President Trump willingness to resign
How Long Can John Kelly Hang On?
John Kelly risks a Steve Bannon moment
Scoop: Trump family v. John Kelly
The last story is in relation to Don Jr. and Ivanka being pissed off at Kushner getting buried under a mountain of leaks after Kelly took away his interim top-secret security clearance. Other than the fact that he goes to war with president brain worms every day and is despised by the most fervent members of the Trump clan, things are going great for John Kelly in the Oval Office. Just great.
This is a firing that Trump should make—the only question is whether he's smart enough to see the easy win hanging out there for him. For those unfamiliar with the specific scandal plaguing the head of Veterans Affairs, here is The Daily Beast with the latest:
Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is likely to be the subject of another damaging investigation as early as next week, one that could prove politically fatal.
The top watchdog for the Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing a report that is expected to criticize Shulkin over his use of his security detail to run personal errands, The Daily Beast has learned. Three sources familiar with the situation say the forthcoming Inspector General report will likely fuel criticism of Shulkin's use of official department resources and could further erode his standing in the administration.
Shulkin, an Obama-era holdover, is already on thin ice with the White House owing to a separate IG report last month, which found that he improperly expended taxpayer resources so that his wife could join him on a trip to Europe last summer. During that trip, both Shulkin and his wife attended the Wimbledon tennis tournament, claiming (it appears falsely) that they were provided the tickets by a family friend. That report also found that Shulkin's chief of staff had forged an email, ostensibly showing that Shulkin was slated to receive an award from the Danish government, in order to create a post-facto pretext for his wife's attendance.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is a mess that urgently needs to be cleaned up and modernized so we can give our troops the health care they deserve, and the guy running it is gallivanting around on taxpayer dollars. That's reason enough to fire him, but in the Trump administration, using your public position to enrich your private life with public funds seems like it's practically a basic job requirement, so who knows what fate will befall the VA Secretary.
UPDATE: The Trump Whisperer is now reporting that Shulkin's days may be numbered, as the president is considering replacing the VA Secretary with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
The United States Secretary of Education clearly does not know how education works in America, as her 60 Minutes debacle this past weekend highlighted yet again.
“White House officials” from the leakiest administration in modern history rushed to tell CNN how horrified they were:
White House officials were alarmed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ struggle to answer basic questions about the nation’s schools and failure to defend the administration’s newly proposed school safety measures during a tour of television interviews Sunday and Monday, according to two sources familiar with their reaction.
There is no greater sin to Trump than robbing him of his precious media time. The reason he watches cable news all day is that’s how he grades his presidency. The “FAKE NEWS MEDIA” is Trump’s target of ire because it’s the only thing he actually pays attention to. Trump probably could care less whether DeVos is qualified to do her job, but every time she slips up, she dominates the headlines. Given that this is the only way to get our commander-in-tweet’s attention, the mere fact that DeVos can supplant him any time she opens her mouth endangers her job. After all, this is the president’s TV show. We’re all just living in it.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.