It’s time once again for Washington wannabes to get out their resumes. There are a number of job openings in the Trump administration and, as the president reminded Americans a few weeks back, “Everyone wants to work in the White House.” That may well have been so in the past, but the attrition rate for staff and cabinet members of this president calls into question the veracity of his claim. Or any claim or statement he makes, for that matter.
It’s no secret that more people have vacated or been pushed out of their posts in the first year of this administration than in any other that preceded it.
The commander-in-chief continually appears to be steering the ship of state toward treacherous shoals. With every passing day and turn of the wheel, it looks as though he’s guiding a foundering ship of fools on an Odyssean journey through dire straits.
This president is no hero and has few triumphs of which to speak. When his administration is not behaving comically, it exhibits all the pathos of a Greek tragedy. Lies, deceit, gluttony, buffoonery, moral-deficiency, avarice, corruption, and more fester beneath the surface.
For the most experienced, most qualified, most honorable, and most principled men and women serving Donald J. Trump, there is little choice but to voluntarily abandon ship. Either that or be thrown overboard like former FBI Director James Comey or his former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Each year, a tremendous number of exceptionally bright, talented, selfless individuals enter public service. The jobs they fill can be thankless yet, at the same time, gratifying. Some are propelled by ambition. Others are more altruistic. Few are driven by money or the notion that demands are insignificant; none believe that whatever they do is merely “good enough for government work.” They, for the most part, feel that by working on behalf of the American people they are responding to a higher calling. They are not propelled by a desire to enter the nebulous world of an imaginary “Deep State.”
Right now, you can go online and search job sites like Indeed, Monster, and any number of others and find page-upon-page of listings for positions working for the federal government or in some government-related post. There are no listings – at least no obvious ones – for positions in the cabinet or the White House. That’s because those jobs are theoretically reserved only for “the best and the brightest” or for ruthless, politically savvy sharks; or for large campaign donors; or a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who might someday be able to help you with a little somethin’-somethin’.
Thus, we end up with an overly-ambitious EPA administrator who doesn’t believe in the science of climate change, or that clean water and air are benefits to everyone. A secretary of energy who thought his job was strictly about fossil fuels, even though overseeing our nuclear arsenal is one of the department’s primary functions. An “acting” head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who gives the middle-finger to any rule that protects consumers and regulates big banks and Wall Street.
A former secretary of Health and Human Services whose penchant for chartering private planes cost him his job. A secretary of Veterans Affairs who mixes too much pleasure with business while venturing abroad. An interior secretary who, when he was a Navy SEAL, was accused by Navy investigators of committing a years-long “pattern of travel fraud.”
Then there’s the secretary of state who got the heave-ho last week; not because he didn’t have sufficient government experience to do his job, but because he allegedly thinks the president is a moron.
We get wife-beaters and a borderline treasonous national security adviser. An attorney general who lies under oath. And a cabinet secretary who clearly thinks you need to be a brain surgeon to have a seat at the dining table while serving at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Then, there are the friends and family members of the president – and, perhaps, the president himself – who believe their government posts give them permission to plunder. The list, unfortunately, grows distressingly longer by the day.
Eighteenth Century philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote, “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” What this nation needs right now are government officials deserving of the positions they have been chosen to fill. Even if it means posting current openings on Indeed or Monster to find them. Who knows? We might get lucky and find someone brilliant. We couldn’t do any worse.