The rule holds: Everything Trump touches dies.
From standing on the verge of one of Washington’s most powerful offices to a tweeted shrug of dismissal from the President, Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Coffeeboy) is the latest, inevitable victim of the career-ending, reputation-shattering career curse that is Donald Trump.
As the two-term Congressman’s flimsy resume hit the light of day, the petty, easily discovered lies and contractions in his record exploded in his face like Trump 20 seconds into a lapdance. Far from being the terrorist-fighting superstar federal prosecutor, Ratcliffe turned out to be a bog-standard U.S. attorney. His sins were little beyond the usual campaign resume fluffing, but it turned out he was about as qualified to be the Director of National Intelligence as Hope Hicks is to pilot the next SpaceX flight into orbit. If Ratcliffe walked off the street to apply for a job at the Office of National Intelligence and told the same lies about his record he told to his constituents, he’d be laughed out of the room.
Extreme vetting, my ass.
After engaging in some performative scenery-chewing conspiracy-mongering during the Mueller hearing, Ratcliffe (R-Foxistan) found himself elevated to the peak of Trump’s regard. That must have felt like a heady rush to the backbencher, but, like a gram of pure coke, there are consequences after the fun stops.
Obviously, Ratcliffe (R-Barely Knew Him) hasn’t been paying attention to the inevitable arc that affects men and women vastly superior to him in intellect and experience who fall into Trump’s trap. Trump wanted a blind loyalist, a man who would cling to him like a remora, utterly faithful, morally blind, willing to break the law for political ends, and impervious to shame.
Trump’s absolute lack of loyalty to anyone and anything is always obvious, but for whatever reason, the ego of Ratcliffe (R-God What Have I Done?) wouldn’t let him say no to the job offer. Trump sneezed, and Ratcliffe got political Ebola. Today, he’s on the inevitable road to unpersoning.
Ratcliffe won’t be the last moron to think they’re the one who will finally, decisively get Trump to grow up, govern like an adult, and put the interests of the country in front of whatever impulsive ass-twitching snap judgments his ego demands of him. The hits will keep coming as we get closer and closer to the Fuhrerbunker part of the show, where only the most loyal and stubborn remain while the smart ones are dead, fled, or defected to the good guys.
There is no better Trump. There is no considered Trump. There is no strategy, only reflex and stochastic noise inside his wee, bony cranium. Trump is sometimes wily, but never smart. He is occasionally possessed of the devil’s own luck, but he is never good.
The endless string of acting temporary provisional kinda sorta operating secretaries of various departments continues. There are three reasons for this worst-practice; first, when Trump is recruiting for positions, he hires for all the wrong reasons. Competence? Experience? Judgement? Knowledge? Comrade, please. Trump is looking for the right appearance (white, thin, and good-looking) joined to a jihadi-style strap-on-the-bomb-vest loyalty to esoteric Trumpism, plus an ability to parrot the most ludicrous talking points to keep the ravenous maw of the FoxTrump-Oxymerica feedback loop spinning.
Next, even Moscow Mitch’s Senate is starting to get a little nervous about the roaring talent and policy vacuum in our national security apparatus. Ratcliffe was going to face rough sledding, even from Trump stalwarts. Confirming the people Trump likes is becoming a heavier lift with every failed appointment.
Finally, quality people with things like, you know, experience would rather stick their junk in a light socket than work for Trump. It takes a particularly needy, stunted set of ambitions to work for Trump, particularly in the national security sector, particularly given Trump’s fiery hatred of the intelligence world.
Earlier in the day the Beast reported that the White House was preparing a list of every person at the DNI GS-15 and above at the Office of National Intelligence. In this pro-Putin White House, I’m sure most officials in the intel world felt like this was totally legit. A directory of senior intelligence officials being vetted for their political reliability to the regime sounds, well, Soviet. Jared probably already has the damn thing for sale to the highest bidder of the various Middle East satraps and warlords who keep his family business afloat, but that’s a separate problem.
The current DNI, Dan Coats, a former U.S. Senator with a bipartisan reputation for probity and good judgment, was never a good fit for Team Trump; he had the terrible habit of calling America’s stated enemies out for their actions and behavior instead of publicly fellating them. He was an old-school Republican who gave a damn about national security and has a record in Congress to prove it. He was a serious person for a serious job, even if the President wasn’t.
Trump blamed his Ratcliffe reversal on “the lamestream media” even as boasted that he saved lots of money by just floating names to see what got reported on them rather than, you know, vetting them.
It would almost—almost—be funny if the job Trump tapped Ratcliffe to fill, before dumping him, wasn’t so deadly important and the stakes for the United States weren’t so high. We face a rising gap between what the intelligence community is warning on North Korea and what the President wants to be true. Donald apparently wants pedis and sleepovers with his bestie Kim, but the DIA warned this week that the DPRK—in addition to continued ballistic missile testing—may have spent the Trump era building up to a dozen new nuclear warheads.
In the Perisian Gulf, John Bolton’s Excellent Adventure is a game of dick-swinging and bumper boats that could break into shooting at any time. China is poised to roll troops into Hong Kong while Donald Trump once again sides with the guys in the Tiananmen tanks, rather than those fighting for freedom. Ebola is getting sporty in Africa, and the European Union is poised to fragment with Brexit in the coming weeks. Russia continues to play its usual games in the whole Destroy Democracy Olympics.
At the current rate, the next candidate for DNI will be the assistant night manager for the Palatka, Florida, Arby’s. What could possibly go wrong?