Sunday, June 18, 2017

Reputational Risk-- Qualified Republicans Are Wary About Working For The Trump Regime


You may have read over the weekend that half a dozen members of the Trumpanzee Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resigned and issued an angry joint letter. In an OpEd for Newsweek Scott Schoettes, one of the council members who resigned, wrote that “As advocates for people living with HIV, we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care. The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and-- most concerning-- pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease… [I]t is not acceptable for the U.S. President to be unaware of these realities, to set up a government that deprioritizes fighting the epidemic and its causes, or to implement policies and support legislation that will reverse the gains made in recent years.”

The big talk in Washington, though, hasn’t been about the Regime’s inability to hold onto employees, it’s been about how hard it’s becoming to hire new ones. For one reason or another, qualified people don’t want total jobs with the Trump Regime. Jobs either go unfilled or get filled with obviously unqualified applicants. This morning Lisa Rein and Abby Phillip, writing for the Washington Post reported about why Republicans won’t work for the Trump regime. And it goes well beyond “the array of legal and political threats hanging over the Trump presidency,” although Putin-Gate and the taint that brings is an obvious factor. Not all right-wing political types really care about that though.
Republicans say they are turning down job offers to work for a chief executive whose volatile temperament makes them nervous. They are asking head-hunters if their reputations could suffer permanent damage, according to 27 people the Washington Post interviewed to assess what is becoming a debilitating factor in recruiting political appointees.

The hiring challenge complicates the already slow pace at which Trump is filling senior leadership jobs across government.

...Potential candidates are watching Trump’s behavior and monitoring his treatment of senior officials. “Trump is becoming radioactive, and it’s accelerating,” said Bill Valdez, a former senior Energy Department official who is now president of the Senior Executives Association, which represents 6,000 top federal leaders.

“He just threw Jeff Sessions under the bus,” Valdez said, referring to recent reports that the president is furious at the attorney general for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. “If you’re working with a boss who doesn’t have your back, you have no confidence in working with that individual.”

Although Trump has blamed Senate Democrats for blocking his nominees, the personnel situation has many causes. After Trump’s November victory, hiring got off to a slow start during the transition, and some important positions have run into screening delays as names pass through several White House aides who must give approval. Some prominent private-sector recruits backed off because they would face a five-year post-employment ban on lobbying.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, who was being considered for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security, was the latest to withdraw his name from consideration on Saturday. A person close to the administration who is familiar with the matter said long delays contributed to Clarke’s decision.

The Trump team has not faced the same issues with mid- and entry-level jobs. It has hired hundreds of young Republican staffers into positions that are résumé-builders-- and has filled some senior posts that do not require Senate approval.

Other candidates told The Post they would eagerly serve but are simply waiting for offers.

But as the president continues to sow doubts about his loyalty to those who work for him, most recently with his tweets on Friday that appeared to attack Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a number of qualified candidates say they see little upside to joining government at this time. They include eight Republicans who said they turned down job offers out of concern that working for this administration could damage their reputation.

Republicans have become so alarmed by the personnel shortfall that in the past week a coalition of conservatives complained to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. “We remain very concerned over the lack of secondary and tertiary executive-level appointments,” they said in a letter signed by 25 prominent conservatives called the Coalitions for America, describing their concern that the leadership vacuum will create “mischief and malfeasance” by civil servants loyal to Obama.

The letter culminated weeks of private urging by top conservatives, said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, who helped lead the effort. “They’re sensitive about it, and they’re trying to do better.”

Fitton said that some candidates have faced inexplicable delays on job offers. “People are waiting to hear back. Promises are made but not kept. People are left stranded. Positions are implied, and people are left hanging.”

In a town where the long hours and financial sacrifice of working in government are outweighed by the prestige of a White House or agency job, the sacrifice is beginning to look less appealing.

Potential candidates question whether they could make a lasting contribution in an administration whose policies often change directions. They worry that anyone in the White House, even in a mid-level post, faces the possibility of sizable legal bills serving on a team that is under investigation. And then there are the tweets.

“You can count me out,” said an attorney who served in the George W. Bush administration and has turned down senior-level legal posts at several agencies, including the Justice Department. This attorney, like others who talked candidly about job offers from the administration, spoke on the condition of anonymity, either because their employers do business with the government or they fear retribution from Republican leaders.

The attorney described an “equally incoherent and unclear leadership” at many agencies, in particular at the Justice Department, where the attorney characterized Sessions’s push for stricter sentences for drug crimes as “1982 thinking” that the Republican Party has largely abandoned.

Another person in line for a senior legal post who pulled out after Comey’s firing said, “I decided, ‘What am I doing this for?’ ”

He described a disorganized paperwork process that threatened to leave him unprepared for Senate confirmation, and said he was disgusted that Rosenstein was “hung out to dry” as the president claimed at first that the deputy attorney general orchestrated Comey’s firing.

“You sit on the tarmac for quite some time, you see smoke coming out of the engine and you say, ‘I’m going back to the gate,’ ” he said.

In recent weeks, several high-profile D.C. attorneys and law firms have turned down offers to represent Trump in the ongoing Russia probe, some of them citing a reluctance to work with a client who notoriously flouts his lawyers’ legal advice.

And the White House’s top communications job has been vacant since Mike Dubke resigned in May.

Lawyers and candidates for White House jobs are particularly wary now, several people said.

“What they’re running into now is, for any job near the White House, people are going to wonder, ‘Am I going to have to lawyer up right away?’ ” said Eliot Cohen, a top official in George W. Bush’s State Department and a leading voice of opposition to Trump among former Republican national security officials during the campaign.

“They’re saying, ‘Tell me about professional liability insurance.’ ”

A longtime GOP activist and former Bush appointee said he rejected offers for several Senate-confirmed jobs because of his policy differences with Trump.

“There are a number of people who are loyal Republicans but who don’t feel comfortable with either [the administration’s] trade positions, or the Muslim [travel] ban or the overall volatility of this administration. We just don’t feel it’s very professional.”

...“How do you draw people to the State Department when they’re cutting the budget by 30 percent?” asked Elliot Abrams, a national security veteran of the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations who was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first pick for deputy secretary before the White House rejected him for criticizing Trump during the campaign. Abrams also cited the president’s last-minute decision to remove language from a speech in Brussels in May that affirms the United States’ commitment to NATO allies’ mutual defense.

“It’s much harder to recruit people now,” Abrams said.



At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Much harder to recruit people now, they complain? Why not mention in the recruiting literature that one is allowed to commit heinous acts on the general public with impunity! You can experiment with the public health by eliminating health care, play around with the public infrastructure like in Flint, or you can take more aggressive action against those environmentalists and help corporations eliminate the accumulation of toxic materials by dumping into the Fear River or Lake Michigan. The possibilities are almost endless!

I can see the applicants lining up now! Special consideration if you can read and deal with troglodytes who need help filling out their applications.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Qualified Republicans" is either self-repudiating or simply means evil enough to do pure evil upon the bottom 99.9%.

Republicans are, by definition, the opposite of qualified (to run government functions that are meant to help people) since it is against their nature.

Himmler was a very qualified Nazi. So was Eichmann. Unqualified Nazis ended up in front of a firing squad.

Perhaps it's the firing squads (metaphorical only... at present) they fear.

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Puh-leeze! Academic shitholes like liberty [so-called] university are cranking out plenty of second-raters drooling for the chance, either before or after they do a stint in some borderline RICO business operation, to help make america great again.

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that this guy lived in New York in the 80's and 90's and has no conscience about the AIDS crisis is about all we need to know about anyone's humanity. Passing through life without really living it is not admirable.


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