Here’s how Trump destroys the reputations of those around him
When NeverTrump conservatives—from GOP strategist Rick Wilson to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to Washington Post columnists Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin—lambast Attorney General William Barr, their tone is often one of extreme disappointment. Someone who previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s, they argue, has tossed aside his once-high standards by becoming a Trump loyalist. Wilson, in his 2018 book “Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever ,” stresses that Donald Trump has been politically toxic for those around him. And that theme also asserts itself in a Susan B. Glasser article published in the New Yorker.
Discussing Barr’s May 1 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Glasser argues that the U.S. attorney general debased himself by being so overtly pro-Trump in his testimony. Glasser writes, “Barr’s whole performance, in fact, was so over the top, so Trumpian, that it immediately led to an array of tweets and op-eds wondering why Barr, a once-respected figure in conservative legal circles and a relatively uncontroversial attorney general during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, would choose to end a distinguished career in such a fashion.”
Glasser’s article ties Barr’s testimony into a broader theme: that Trump is so politically toxic that he destroys the reputations of those around him. The journalist cites Sen. Lindsay Graham as an example, noting that the South Carolina senator went from denouncing Trump as a “kook” in 2016 to becoming an ardent Trumpista; like Barr, Glasser notes, Graham “hadn’t even liked or supported Trump when he ran for president.”
Echoing the “Everything Trump Touches Dies” theme of Rick Wilson’s book, Glasser explains, “The Trump presidency has been a great wrecker of reputations. In his short time in politics, Trump has managed to shred the careers, professional integrity and dignity of many of those who worked for him.”
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Glasser cites as another example, went from being “an American corporate superstar, the CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the wealthiest oil companies in the world” to learning “that he was being fired while sitting on the toilet, an indignity followed up with a presidential tweet announcing his exit.” And former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus—who had previously served as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC)— “was just leaving Air Force One, oblivious, when Trump tweeted the news of his firing,” Glasser recalls.
The New Yorker staff writer wraps up her piece by asserting that in one respect, Graham might be right: “After Wednesday’s contentious Senate hearing, Lindsey Graham, whatever you think of his credibility, spoke what appeared to be a genuine political truth,” Glasser observes. “He said that, as far as he and his Republican-controlled committee are concerned, there will be no more discussion of the Mueller report, no more testimony and no impeachment. ‘It’s over,’ he said, and he may well be right.”