No moss grows under the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J Trump. Having only recently appointed Anthony Scaramucci as his Director of Communications at the White House he has now gone and sacked him, sending those that love to bait and troll the President into delirium.
President Trump has sacked the head of the FBI, James Comey, the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, and many others have resigned rather than be marginalised or sacked, including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
With so many staffers falling by the wayside as casualties to Trump’s willingness to announce “you’re fired”, the President has turned the White House into the film lot for The Apprentice rather than the nerve centre of the most powerful government in the world.
The obvious downside to all of this is what to make of President Trump’s judgement in appointing such people in the first place. What does it say about his ability to get the measure of people and understand how they tick, what kind of job they will do and how they will get on with colleagues and the public?
So not surprisingly the sacking of Scaramucci is giving a great deal of concern to lots of people that have their doubts about President Trump and is the cause of great hilarity in those that need little reason to condemn him just for breathing.
There is, however, an upside to the President’s willingness to sack his aides that our political leaders could learn from.
Firstly, let me deal with the question of his judgement. On the face of it President Trump appears poor at hiring the right people, and whether or not he’s the person who has gone over the resumés of aides and then made an ill-considered choice or taken the choice on advisement from his Chief of Staff does not matter. Everyone knows the buck stops with the President.
That said, I need to let readers into a secret; our own politicians are lousy at hiring people too. That’s right, all the leaders I have known, either from a distance or up close in the days when I had my House of Commons pass and had meetings at Downing Street have been shocking at hiring people. Believe me, irrespective of party, their judgement was regularly shown to be impaired too. The only difference between them all, be it Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron or Theresa May (and the ones I’ve missed out) is that they were very poor at sacking their appointments.
The reason for this is the other side of the coin from why President Trump feels able to sack the failures in his team. Our leaders, indeed most leaders in the Western world, have become so concerned about media management, so bound by the self-serving diplomatic conventions of politics, that they are scared of being embarrassed by having to dismiss someone. They’re petrified it will suggest they did something wrong, that their judgement is impaired – so they recoil from taking decisions to fire the miscreants and carry on regardless, often until another scandal comes along and they are left with no alternative.
The difference with President Trump is he comes from business, and a world of business that is not bound by volumes of employment law. He sees no shame, no embarrassment in firing people if he thinks they are not doing their job well enough or are becoming a problem rather than the solution.
On balance would we not prefer that our leaders were willing to own up and recognise they have appointed the wrong people and move them out? Would it not have ben better if Theresa May had fired her top two advisers that convinced her to have a general election – rather than be forced to let them resign afterwards? With all the nepotism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and the employment of 14 aides by Nicola Sturgeon’s cabinet are people not in danger of throwing stones in glass houses by rushing to criticise President Trump?