Donald Trump’s hiring decisions were a disaster and destroyed his presidency. Most leadership experts will tell you that groupthink is one of the most toxic forms of organization that could exist.
It is entirely counterproductive to have a hive mind of individuals who all agree with each other, not because they truly think that the collective is correct.
But because they are afraid of being cast out of the group.
George W. Bush and Groupthink
It has been suggested that one of the reasons behind the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 was because groupthink dominated the upper echelons of the George W. Bush Administration. That dominant groupthink was also the reason for why Bush was so slow to course correct.
Lincoln’s “Team of Rivals”
On the other end of that spectrum was Abraham Lincoln’s “team of rivals”. This model allowed for the top leaders of the Lincoln Administration to air their grievances with each other, work through problems together, and posit sensible solutions to the problems that the country was facing at the time.
It created a degree of dynamism in the White House rather than discord. It helped along the iterative process of decision making during the crisis that was the US Civil War.
Donald Trump Loves Sycophants
Donald J. Trump was elected to the White House partly because of his business acumen.
Voters assumed that the man would be able to navigate a bevy of crises because of his extreme success.
What’s more, many assumed—and Trump made them believe it—that he’d hire only the “very best people” to staff his administration.
After he hired the likes of Omarosa Manigault and Anthony Scaramucci, to name just two, Trump proved that the “very best people” were not available.
Donald Trump surrounded himself by sycophants and family members and tried to pass them off as the best-and-brightest.
In the few cases where did not hire ineffectual sycophants, Trump hired people who hated him so much and resented his presence in the White House so badly that they actively undermined his presidency in what I have previously referred to as a rolling, administrative coup directed against the forty-fifth president.
Trump’s personnel were the key element behind his failure as president.
The people who hated Trump that had been brought in had also learned how to play the boss by flattering him to get what they wanted: more access and power.
Others who were purely sycophants used Trump not to implement a “MAGA” agenda.
Instead, they used him to propel their own careers in Right-wing media.
Meanwhile, little got done—especially Trump’s promise to “build a wall” and to “make Mexico pay” for that wall.
There were things that Trump did that he should be proud of. But those successes, especially after having lived through the nightmare that was COVID-19, feel like the exception to the rule.
Telling Trump what he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear. Playing on his galaxy-sized ego to get what they wanted rather than what the country required, were all hallmarks of the Trump Administration.
One story particularly stands out to me.
At a private event in 2019 in which I was one of the emcees, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) gloated about he, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) cornered then-President Trump in the yellow Oval Office and got the forty-fifth president to act in direct contravention of his stated policy of ending America’s military involvement in Syria.
When I asked the congressman how he got Trump to abandon what had become a matter of faith among the “MAGA” crowd, the neoconservative smirked and said coolly, “I just played on the man’s ego.”
That’s all it took to get Trump to abandon deeply held beliefs (supposedly). The whispering of sweet nothings into his ear. That’s basically what the staff and others Trump had leaned on for advice did to him throughout his four years in office.
Donald Trump Will Never Change
Whatever claims that Donald Trump has made since leaving office about how he’d run things differently if reelected in 2024, take them with a grain of salt.
His ego is the only thing that matters to him. He’d hire George Soros to be in his cabinet, if Soros praised Trump enough.
Trump’s personnel choices were strange. Some were sycophants. Others simply told him what he wanted to hear so they could get what they needed. All, however, nodded along sagaciously with whatever musings or claim that Trump made.
That’s not leadership and that isn’t what America needs from its president. It’s time to turn the page. We need to be done with the gerontocracy and place the next generation in charge. Before we don’t have anything of our country left.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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