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Trump isn’t done trashing former members of his White House team

Donald Trump has faced unprecedented rebukes from members of his former team, but it turns out that they’re also facing unprecedented rebukes from him.


Donald Trump’s presidency was unusual for a great many reasons, but among the most striking was the number of administration officials who ended up condemning their former boss. The list includes several former members of the White House Cabinet — including Trump’s former chief of staff who can barely contain his visceral contempt for the former president — and it grows much longer if we include other officials who worked with Trump just below the Cabinet level.

Every president has faced criticisms from partisan rivals and critics in the press, but as we’ve discussed, it’s qualitatively different to hear brutal criticisms from officials who were part of Trump’s own team.

What makes this dynamic even more striking, however, is that it’s not unidirectional: Trump has faced unprecedented rebukes from his former administration colleagues, but his former administration colleagues have also faced unprecedented rebukes from him.

The Hill reported this week, for example, on the Republican taking rhetorical aim at Kayleigh McEnany, his former White House press secretary.

“Kayleigh ‘Milktoast’ McEnany just gave out the wrong poll numbers on FoxNews. I am 34 points up on DeSanctimonious, not 25 up,” Trump said in a Truth Social post, using his nickname for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). “While 25 is great, it’s not 34,” he added. “She knew the number was corrected upwards by the group that did the poll. The RINOS & Globalists can have her. FoxNews should only use REAL Stars!!!”

Days earlier, the former president also went after Ken Cuccinelli, whom Trump appointed to a top position in the Department of Homeland Security.

“A man named Ken Cuccinelli, who failed miserably in his run for Governor of Virginia and then in his running the Ted Cruz campaign against me, worked for the Trump Administration on the Border, but just was not as good as some of the other people I had working on Border Security,” Trump wrote on his social media platform. “He was going nowhere with us, so now he works for DeSanctimonious, at supposedly a big Globalist like salary, and rips ‘TRUMP’ on Globalist FoxNews. Oh well, another one bites the dust!”

These are examples from the last week or so, but Semafor published a related report yesterday, highlighting several additional gems: “The list of failures include — among many, many, many others — his former Secretary of State (‘dumb as a rock’), multiple chiefs of staff (‘born loser,’ ‘way over his head’), multiple Attorneys General (‘coward’ ‘disaster’), multiple Defense Secretaries (‘weak’ ‘overrated’), his former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (‘f***ing idiot’), his former National Security Advisor (‘moron’), his former White House Press Secretary (‘milktoast’ just this week), his former top communications aide (‘sleazebag’) the current FBI Director (‘disappointing’), and, of course, his own Vice President (no ‘courage’), who is preparing to run against him.”

This is, of course, a partial list.

The criticisms are not without consequence: A GOP state representative in New Hampshire pulled his support for Trump yesterday, saying he was uncomfortable with the former president’s comments about McEnany.

But stepping back, there’s also a larger context to consider: Trump told voters he’d surround himself “only with the best and most serious people.” Evidently, by the Republican’s own estimation, he’s amazingly inept when making personnel decisions.