Donald Trump has spent the last two weeks cutting the ground out from under the feet of his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions–140 characters at a time. To put it mildly, it’s not playing well on either side of the aisle.
Besides the predictable outrage from Democrats, a number of Republicans are up in arms as well. For instance, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned Trump that if he dumps Sessions, he could face a long wait for a permanent replacement.
Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) July 27, 2017
So is Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He told reporters that Trump’s bullying of Sessions isn’t playing well in the Senate. Watch here, via NBC News.
Graham warned Trump that if he fires Sessions, “there will be holy hell to pay” in the Senate.
As it turns out, there’s another storm brewing for Trump closer to home. Several members of Trump’s own Cabinet so outraged at how he is treating Sessions that they are on the verge of open revolt.
Erick Erickson, the former boss of RedState and a charter member of the never-Trump club, recently shared a revealing conversation he had with an anonymous Cabinet member at his current blog, The Resurgent. According to this secretary, the recent rumors about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considering whether to resign are true, despite Tillerson’s public statements that he’s staying on. Reportedly, Tillerson is “quite perturbed” with how Trump is treating Sessions. Defense Secretary James Mattis is also upset by this whole episode.
According to the anonymous secretary, his colleagues are upset over a number of other things too. For instance, the West Wing has vetoed a number of picks for staff positions at Cabinet departments–the people who actually do the day-to-day work of running those departments–because they aren’t seen as loyal enough to Trump. It’s slowed down an already ponderously slow process of filling out important administration posts.
The anonymous secretary is dumbfounded that Trump is attacking Sessions so openly, given that he was the earliest high-profile Republican elected official to endorse Trump. He openly wondered, “If he can get treated that way, what about the rest of us?” Apparently he has good reason to worry. Reportedly, Trump is seriously considering not only firing Sessions, but also every Cabinet official who is not seen as sufficiently loyal to him. As this secretary sees it, the situation is “more of a clusterf**k than you even know.”
On the Tuesday edition of his radio show on WSB in Atlanta, Erickson revealed that this secretary is a longtime friend who called him to express his outrage over the Sessions situation. To those who wondered how this could be what finally knocks scales off eyes after almost two years of outrages from Trump, Erickson explained that a lot of people in the Trump administration went to work for Trump over the vociferous objections of family, friends, and professional colleagues and at great risk to their reputations. Despite such pressure, they sincerely believed that they were doing so for the good of the country.
Trump’s daily attacks on Sessions have come as a cold douche to many of these staffers.
“They go work for him, and now they see the president looking at the most loyal Cabinet secretary, and throwing him under the bus.”
Erickson, an attorney by training, points out that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself on all Russia matters because he talked with Russia while “not knowing what the rest of the campaign team was doing.” Remember, Trump hinted he would have never appointed Sessions had he known about the prospect that Sessions would have to recuse. Additionally, Trump’s irate questions about why Sessions hasn’t gone after Hillary Clinton fly in the face of Trump himself saying in December that he didn’t want Hillary prosecuted.
We know this. And there’s little doubt most of the Cabinet knows this as well. And yet, in the face of all of this, Trump is kneecapping the most loyal member of his Cabinet on a daily basis. According to the secretary who spoke with Erickson, Tillerson isn’t the only one ready to jump before getting pushed. Under the circumstances, it’s hard to blame them.
Then again, they’re serving under a guy who has never worked for a non-relative before, and isn’t used to taking constructive criticism. It was only a matter of time before he turned his guns on one of them. It just happened to be Sessions.
(featured image courtesy Office of President-Elect Trump, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)