“Donald Trump only makes good decisions.”
That idea is central to the character that Donald J. Trump has been playing for roughly four decades. It is a carefully cultivated, measured alignment between what Trump does and the way he allows it to be repeated back to him. Most sociopaths actually possess that gift, though few are ever elevated to the position of authority that would afford them the opportunity to hone their manipulative skills on as wide an audience as Trump has.
Unfortunately, the trait that also accompanies Trump’s need for acclaim for his dealmaking prowess is an inability to conceptualize mutual benefit. If a thing he’s involved in benefits him, he is the winner and everyone else is the loser. If he is involved in something that someone else benefits from, he is getting ripped off. He is either stealing or being stolen from, in a stark black and white world of calculation and gamesmanship.
There is no in between.
So it is with the choices he’s made for judicial appointments, treaty withdrawals, press conference access, rally crowd size reporting, and maybe most especially, Cabinet picks. The calculus for Trump’s inner circle is simple: His choices should infuriate his political enemies while doing his bidding and not becoming a liability. As long as someone isn’t stealing his limelight with their own shenanigans, he is fine.
That’s why Scott Pruitt still has a job. The EPA administrator is widely considered the most prolific single thief of taxpayer money in government history, and with a new scandal being reported every day, it seems he has no plans to slow down.
House Democrats, however, may be about to hand Donald Trump an “L,” as they say, on Scott Pruitt.
It should surprise no one, after having seen Pruitt buy ridiculous items at tremendous taxpayer expense, travel with a security detail perhaps ten times what a normal Cabinet member might need, use his position in government to leverage airline upgrades, special favors, and most recently, attempt to purchase a fast food franchise for his wife using government connections, that members of Congress are calling for an investigation into his verified, blatant, unrepentant criminal behavior.
The six Democrats, all of whom sit on a Congressional committee with oversight of the EPA, have demanded that the Director of the FBI personally look into Pruitt’s activities.
But even as Pruitt was being called into account in the halls of Congress, Trump was standing on the White House lawn crowing about Pruitt’s exploits at the Environmental Protection Agency, an organization that he’s openly hated since it was created. Here’s Donald Trump discussing how happy he’s been with Pruitt’s talents:
“Scott Pruitt is doing a great job within the walls of the EPA. I mean, we’re setting records. Outside he’s being attacked very viciously by the press. And I’m not saying that he’s blameless. But we’ll see what happens.”
I guess we will see what happens — and which of you goes to jail for ripping off America in the worst deal this country’s ever made.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery