During his exceedingly brief tenure as the White House’s communications director, Anthony Scaramucci expressed disappointment in some of the people in Donald Trump’s orbit. “There are people inside the administration who think it is their job to save America from this president,” he noted.
Yesterday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) made the case that there are people inside the administration whose job really is saving America from this president. The Republican senator, who recently announced his retirement, was quite candid with reporters yesterday when asked about reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “moron” and had to be talked out of quitting.
“I think Secretary Tillerson, [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis], and [White House Chief of Staff John Kelly] are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much…. I think [Tillerson’s] in a very trying situation, trying to solve many of the world’s problems, a lot of times without the kind of support and help that I’d like to see him have.”
Asked specifically if he meant officials like Tillerson, Mattis, and Kelly are preventing Trump-imposed “chaos,” Corker didn’t answer directly. “They work very well together to make sure that the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent,” the Republican senator replied. “There are other people within the administration, in my belief, that don’t.”
Subtle, this wasn’t. As a Washington Post report noted, “Suggesting that there would be ‘chaos’ if not for the generals and Tillerson is to suggest that not only is Trump not a steady leader, but that things are basically ready to unravel behind the scenes.”
I think that’s right, but it’s also a little terrifying.
To hear the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tell it, a president from his own party is so unstable, members of his cabinet are the only thing standing between us and systemic, Trump-imposed turmoil.
This isn’t how our system of government is supposed to work. Cabinet members are there to help oversee federal agencies and help implement the White House’s agenda, not serve as a national shield against the dangers posed by an unfit president.
Postscript: This isn’t the first time Corker has spoken out against Trump in provocative terms, though now that the GOP senator is retiring, it’s likely he’ll be even less guarded.