For most people, Mother’s Day weekend is a time to give thanks for someone whose role in your life you had no real control over. For President Trump, though, it was a time to settle scores with people he himself selected.
Trump on Saturday issued his most direct attack to date on former White House counsel Don McGahn. Then on Monday, he magnified criticism of his FBI director, Christopher Wray.
After reports surfaced that McGahn had declined Trump’s request to publicly say Trump didn’t obstruct justice, Trump on Saturday tweeted that “lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan!”
Then early Monday morning, Trump passed along a commentary from Judicial Watch, which included this: “The FBI has no leadership. The Director is protecting the same gang.....that tried to ... overthrow the President through an illegal coup.”
Trump then added, “(Recommended by previous DOJ).”
In case it wasn’t clear, that parenthetical is meant to suggest Wray is a problem foisted upon Trump by former attorney general Jeff Sessions, whom — you guessed it — Trump also attacked, repeatedly. But just like Sessions and McGahn, Wray is someone Trump himself actually installed in his job.
And the three of them have plenty of company. Despite insisting that he hires “only the best” people, Trump has publicly attacked more than a dozen high-profile administration officials and campaign aides he selected. And he often does so by suggested their hiring wasn’t actually his fault.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Sessions: “I don’t have an attorney general. ... He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it. And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered.”
- Former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein: “[Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe] and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught.”
- Former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon: “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. ... Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was.”
- Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson: "[Current Secretary Mike Pompeo’s] predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ballgame, great spirit at State!”
- Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn: “Gary Cohn, I could tell stories about him like you wouldn’t believe. ... Gary Cohn never thought we could ever make this deal with Mexico and never thought in a million years we could make this deal with Canada.”
- Former defense secretary Jim Mattis: “What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan and I shouldn’t be happy. He was very happy.” “When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should.”
- Former White House communications aide Omarosa Manigault Newman: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell: “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida and/or Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles: “I put a couple of other people there I’m not so happy with too, but for the most part I’m very happy with people.” (These were the only people Trump had appointed to the Fed at the time.)
- Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster: After McMaster said Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was “incontrovertible,” Trump responded, “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems.”
- Former chief of staff John Kelly: “He’s doing an excellent job in many ways. There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault, it’s not his strength.”
- Former health and human services secretary Tom Price: On Price’s use of private planes, “I will tell, you personally I’m not happy about it. I am not happy.”
- Former White House aide Cliff Sims: “A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”
- Former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen: “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!” (Also called him a “rat.”)
- Former deputy campaign manager David Bossie: “There is no excuse for any group, including ones run by people who claim to be part of our ‘coalition,’ to suggest they directly support President Trump’s re-election or any other candidates, when in fact their actions show they are interested in filling their own pockets with money from innocent Americans’ paychecks, and sadly, retirements.”