Aesop tells us, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” Although it would be convenient to hope that in the case of President Trump he is wrong, the evidence is to the contrary. A quick look at the President’s company produces a rogue’s gallery of convicted felons, ethical question marks, and incompetents. If Aesop is right, we all need to run for the hills.
At the risk of both missing some of the more egregious cases and perhaps being too harsh on a few others, here is a sampler of the President’s men and woman:
Roger Stone. He frequently wore stripes before his conviction. Now he gets to wear them permanently. That tattoo of Nixon on his back will be a big hit in the prison shower.
Manafort. Trump needs to find someone else to run the 2020 Republican convention in Charlotte unless someone can get him a contraband cell phone and a 5G signal.
Rudy. How far can “America’s Mayor” fall? Did he simply go insane or was there a hidden side to Mayor Giuliani all the time?
Lindsay Graham. Proof that ghosts do not come back to haunt. If the late Senator McCain had any awareness of the ethical decline of his friend, he would be shaking his head and muttering an expletive. It’s one thing to become Trump’s chief defender in the Senate. It’s another to initiate an investigation into the Bidens on the President’s behalf. Biden, you may know, is Senator Graham’s “good friend.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders. For 23 months, Mike Huckabee’s daughter attempted to break the Guinness Book record for lying. Now, she indicates that she has been “called on” to run for Governor of Arkansas. Arkansas isn’t the greatest place on earth, but what could be going on down there for God to wish for Sanders to occupy the State House?
Sean Spicer. Best known for “Dancing with the Stars,” but he redefined the role of White House Press Secretary. Have you read his book, The Briefing? I passed. It has been described as “a bumbling effort at gaslighting Americans.”
Hope Hicks. A key distinction Hicks enjoys over most of the rest of Trump’s associates is that she has publicly admitted that she lied for him. Don’t be too hard on her. They were only “white lies.” Now, she has cashiered her White House experience into an EVP job at Fox.
Michael Cohen. Cohen repented his loyalty to Trump but only after his wing of the house of cards collapsed. Everyone now knows what a “fixer” is even if his efforts with Stormy Daniels did not work out. He once said he’d take a bullet for Trump. Now he’s behind bars serving a three-year sentence.
Steve Bannon. The “Chief Strategist,” also referred to by Trump as “Sloppy Steven,” was “dumped like a dog” by him. We should all be grateful he was dumped when he was.
Steven Miller. This documented racist not only writes emails like a Nazi, he also looks a bit like one. Yet this white nationalist still is at work at the White House. (Okay, the crack about Miller’s appearance is a bit much, but read his emails.)
Kellyanne Conway. Her White House role is best summarized in the words “alternative facts” but what about that Trump-hating husband of hers?
Devin Nunes. Not only has he shared confidential Intelligence Committee information with the White House, but he allegedly met with Ukrainians to discuss “dirt” while on a taxpayer-funded Congressional trip.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka. This selfless pair are key advisors to the President. They work for free, no doubt because they don’t care about money. Both are already laying plans for their future presidencies.
Scott Pruitt. Because there have been so many rogues in this Administration, you may have forgotten about Trump’s first EPA Administrator. He spent more than $3 million in his first year in office on “travel and security,” more than three times what his predecessor did. Add to that more than a half dozen serious allegations of ethics violations.
I’ll stop here, intentionally, because discussing Bill Barr, Mick Mulvaney and giants such as former wrestling coach Jim Jordan would make this piece too long. I’m also not mentioning any “exceptions to the rule,” people like Mad Dog Mattis and John Kelly. Both need to be thanked for their service. The others, and the President, need to be held accountable for theirs.
J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. He is a former counsel to the House Committee on Education and Labor. For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy.