Donald Trump brags that as president he will hire the best people, the greatest people. They’ll be so great, you’ll be sick of great people. You know the patter. The problem is there is no evidence that Trump knows who quality people are or that he can attract them.
Consider the members of his long-awaited foreign policy team, whose backgrounds The Post has investigated. Joseph Schmitz, previously the inspector general of the Defense Department for President George W. Bush, “slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines, according to interviews with current and former senior officials in the inspector general’s office, congressional investigators and a review of internal email and other documents,” according to a 2005 Los Angeles Times investigation. Fabulous. Sounds like a Hillary Clinton hire.
Then there is the fellow six years out of graduate school who advised Ben Carson. (Never held a government job, but what the heck, right?) Next is Walid Phares, who has no government experience either and has been linked to Lebanese militants. Then there is retired Army Lt. Gen. J. Keith Kellogg Jr., who served as chief operating officer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. (That was, to put it mildly, not a success.) And then there is an energy executive who once blamed NATO for Russian aggression.
Is there a qualified, respected figure in the bunch?
Then there is his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who has been accused of physically manhandling a reporter and grabbing the collar of a protester. BuzzFeed has more: “In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.” Lewandowski denies the charges. This is the model for future White House staffers?
Trump’s business hiring record is not all that great either. He blames his casino failures and bankruptcies on bad managers. Trump University? As the Daily Beast reported, Trump hired instructors “without academic pedigrees, including Stephen Libman, a Canadian travel agent-turned-motivational speaker, according to his LinkedIn profile, and Geoff Nowlin, an Arizona realtor with a website called Mentor4Lifetime.com.” There was also James Harris: “Despite becoming the top instructor at an institution that billed itself as a university, he didn’t have a background in education or even, according to his story, a college degree. When he was hired in 2008, he was already a convicted felon—for aggravated assault, recent depositions in the Trump University case reveal. And according to 2011 divorce filings in Gwinnett County, Georgia, Harris threatened to kill his ex-wife and tried to have her Range Rover repossessed the day after she filed for a restraining order.” Fabulous hires? The greatest people?
It should surprise no one that Trump does not attract serious, scholarly, well-vetted and well-behaved people. The sort of people he attracts and who find him undermine the notion that he is a great magnet for the best and the brightest. Moreover, they speak volumes about his own intellect and character. Birds of a feather, and all that.