Newspaper article Roll Call

One Reason Donald Trump Should Be President

Newspaper article Roll Call

One Reason Donald Trump Should Be President

Article excerpt

It's not very challenging to write about the countless reasons why Donald Trump would not make a good president. But there is one thing the Donald does that might be useful in the Oval Office -- he fires people.

As Ezra Klein noted in his recent Bloomberg column, there have been multiple opportunities for President Barack Obama to fire someone (the HealthCare.gov rollout being the most recent, glaring example). Yet the president chose a path of lesser resistance.

"Somewhere in this chain of colossal, consequential screwups," wrote Klein, "there are surely a few people who deserve to be fired. The White House tends to dismiss such criticism. Indeed, Obama aides pride themselves on rising above it, viewing it as politically motivated or, when proffered by administration allies, derived from a crude desire for retribution. There might, at times, be truth to that. But firing and replacing underperforming staff is also a key element of effective management."

But the hunkering down phenomenon is not limited to Obama. Firing people is apparently just something presidents don't like to do.

One one hand, it could be seen as a point of weakness, an admission that a person initially appointed or hired by the president was not up to the task. But on the other hand, publicly firing someone could easily be seen as a sign of leadership and set an example of accountability.

President George W. Bush had more than a couple of opportunities to fire someone. After the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, firing Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Michael D. Brown should have been an easy decision. Instead he was given a public "heck of a job," pushed aside and later resigned.

Scooter Libby was also a potential fall guy. The former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney didn't resign from his White House post until after he was indicted for lying to federal investigations in the Valerie Plame incident. Of course, Bush's unique relationship with Cheney made firing Libby a very complicated matter.

Going even further back, the trend is resignations, even when it was widely known that the individual was being pushed out.

It was no secret that White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan was pushed out by President Ronald Reagan (or more specifically, First Lady Nancy Reagan). And Bert Lance, President Jimmy Carter's first director of the Office of Management and Budget, was allowed to resign after less than a year in his position when allegations of improper conduct swirled around him.

After checking with some veteran White House watchers, it's just plain difficult to find an example of a high-profile presidential firing.

One of the best cases might be the so-called Halloween Massacre, and even that is complicated. …

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