The Trumpettes: Incompetence on Steroids

Trump Maladministration

I go out for an afternoon and all hell breaks loose. Today we learned that the entire senior level of management officials at the State Department resigned/were fired yesterday. And  I see that Trump plans to build his wall by making tomatoes unaffordable.

Initial reports were that four senior State Department officials resigned yesterday, but now two of them are saying they were fired. But I’ll come back to that. This is from Josh Rogin at WaPo:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me.

Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

However, CNN reported this afternoon that these officials were fired. Reading between the lines of the CNN report, it appears these officials are presidential appointees, and as is customary they offered resignations at the beginning of a new administration. The normal thing is for the new Administration to ask the old hands to stay on, either indefinitely or until new people could be appointed. But The Trumpettes informed these officials they were out of a job as of yesterday, which is not the normal procedure. Back to Rogin:

In addition, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired Jan. 20, and the director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day. That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people.

“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”

CNN reported,

The firings leave a huge management hole at the State Department, with a combined 150 years of institutional experience among all of the named officials. The second official echoed that the move appeared to be an effort by the new administration to “clean house” among the State Department’s top leadership.

The State Department is now where FEMA was when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Brilliant.

Now, on to the tomatoes

A deep rift opened Thursday between the United States and its southern neighbor as the Trump administration pressed forward with a plan for a giant border wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it, possibly through a U.S. tax on imports.

President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday called off a trip to Washington after restating that Mexico would not finance the wall. Hours later, Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, said the wall could be funded by a 20 percent import tax on goods from Mexico.

Immediately the Dallas Morning News retorted,

The White House floated the idea Thursday of imposing a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, arguing that would be more than enough to pay for a controversial border wall.

Such a tariff on goods and services would be paid by U.S. consumers and businesses — people buying anything from avocados and tequila to automobiles. Energy companies, big retailers and other major business interests oppose such an import tax, arguing that it would drive up prices in the United States, curb demand, and erode profits.

We import tons of stuff from Mexico, but especially note that Mexico is America’s second biggest supplier of fruits and vegetables. Trump’s Folly could raise the price of food out of sight.

Estimates are that the wall easily could cost $25 billion to build. That money won’t be paid by Mexico. If Trump gets his way, it will be paid by American consumers. #TrumpsFolly

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  1. freetofu  •  Jan 26, 2017 @8:04 pm

    Mexico is also the 2nd largest purchaser of American exports. This is gonna be so great!

  2. JDM  •  Jan 26, 2017 @8:08 pm

    Trump will, of course, say that this import duty constitutes Mexico paying for a wall. And his supporters, even as they dig into their pockets to pay for it, will agree with him, just as many of them looked at the now-famous side by side pictures of the crowds at Trump’s vs Obama’s inaugurations and concluded that the far smaller crowd was larger.

    Reality is not their strong suit.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 26, 2017 @8:16 pm

    We need to look at organizing protests, daily, to drive our narcissistic, psychotic, and insane new POTUS, ‘Orange (wannabe)Julius (Caesar)’ further into madness – not a long drive at all, imo!

    Ah, for the days of calm, lucid, coherent, and well-planned leadership of…
    That well-spoken, thoughtful, and knowledgeable POTUS, George W. Bush.

    Yes, it’s come to that!

    25th Amendment, anyone?!?!?!

    “The whole world’s laughing!
    The whole world’s laughing!!

    Laughing, until they see the best moment to strike…

  4. RadioClash  •  Jan 26, 2017 @8:38 pm

    We are so screwed.

  5. Mike G  •  Jan 26, 2017 @8:48 pm

    No problem, the Trump team will be hiring interns from Liberty University to manage the State Department — ideologically correct and pliable are the chief criteria.

  6. Doug  •  Jan 27, 2017 @12:02 am

    There isn’t anybody left at State who can spell, ‘nuanced’.

  7. aj  •  Jan 27, 2017 @1:27 am

    mike g has it. like the interns they gave voice of America to, an800 million dollar propaganda machine. I ‘m looking at the butternut squash here on my counter- grown in mexico. oh boy. His great negotiating and trade skills will give us inflation and perhaps war.
    Trump is the great OZ( little man behind curtain)

  8. Joseph Auclair  •  Jan 27, 2017 @11:12 am

    The 25th would require the cooperation of Republicans and replace Trump with Pence.

    Pence doesn’t share Trump’s personality and character failings but is the worst possible combination of Christian Right with Wall Street conservatism.

    Careful what you wish for.

  9. JDM  •  Jan 27, 2017 @1:59 pm

    The problem we face re Pence as a replacement is that “not totally insane” is an incredibly big improvement over Trump.

  10. Ed  •  Jan 27, 2017 @3:31 pm

    Hell with tomatoes! Buncha damn quiche-eating liberals may care, but not me!

    But what about my Corona and my tequila?

  11. Ed  •  Jan 27, 2017 @3:36 pm

    Not to be overlooked: POTUS now has an approval rating of 36%, down from the 47% he had a week ago.

    I suspect that Hitler had an approval rating above 36% when he passed the Enabling Act.

  12. Bill  •  Jan 27, 2017 @4:49 pm

    On the negative, Trump is following through with some of his campaign promises, when previous presidents did not, as much or as quickly. And he’s using authoritarian techniques to do so when they wouldn’t. This could (eventually) raise his stock amongst those voting minions tired of BS- politics-as-always, as well as misguided sympathy for a more authoritarian leadership.

  13. paradoctor  •  Jan 27, 2017 @7:39 pm

    The 25th? What fun. I can see it now: Pence conspires with Mattis, Tillford and Mnuchin; but will Carson turn them in? Stay tuned for the next episode of “Game Of Trumps”!

    Pence would indeed be Trump’s Revenge, as Ford was Nixon’s. For consolation, note that Pence will be in charge of Trump’s domestic policy anyhow, so you might as well put him under the spotlight that Trump finds so sweltering.

    Maybe Pence will be like Ford, a short-term caretaker sans mandate. Or maybe he’ll be like Agnew, thrown under the bus during the ruckus.
    Or… maybe all along Trump was a Pence delivery system.

  14. paradoctor  •  Jan 27, 2017 @7:43 pm

    47% to 36% in a week? At that rate, in three weeks he’ll be at 8%, and -3% a week later!

  15. Bonnie  •  Jan 27, 2017 @8:10 pm

    Paradoctor, great stats! Couldn’t have to a nicer guy.

  16. Bonnie  •  Jan 27, 2017 @8:12 pm

    Oops–couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  17. Tom_b  •  Jan 27, 2017 @8:33 pm

    Plausible scenario: “”

  18. paintedjaguar  •  Jan 28, 2017 @2:17 am

    Ok, so let me get this straight. Over the past year or so, as a party Dems have come out against universal, guaranteed health care, against publicly financed college, against more democratic elections, against less money and less croneyism in politics, against using tariffs to protect US jobs (Card-Check for unions had already been ditched), against cheaper pharmaceuticals, against friendly relations with Russia, against prosecuting the privileged… and now you guys seem to be arguing that it’s better for politicians to lie about their intentions and break their campaign promises.

    Tell me again why you think I should be supporting Democrats? And that “both sides do it” thing… just Republican propaganda, right?

  19. goatherd  •  Jan 28, 2017 @9:37 am

    Nikki Haley delivered a thuggish, heavy handed threat to the UN in a news conference the other day. I never had admiration for her, but, I thought of her as one of the more or less, “moderate” Republicans. I suppose I was nostalgic for the naivete of my youth.

    We don’t know the extent of the scrubbing of public information from GOV websites, etc, yet. Obviously the Donald believes that the state should reflect his views, as an extension of his glorious being. But, something related is also taking shape, the government is being formed into an arm of the party, which is Totalitarian. The aim is to exclude all opposition, to make the very form and substance of government a device for exercise of the power and vision of the party. The first step of dissent is knowledge and information, so that must be done away with.

    This brings me to a simple question, that I will call the “fancy dress party.” All stripes of Republicans seem to be falling into line. Some, like Haley, didn’t seem so horrible before, but quickly displayed an accomplished talent for thuggery. It’s as if you went to a fancy dress party and everyone had chosen to dress like Nazis. After a while you have to ask yourself, “have I just arrived at a party, or is the party over, and everyone is back to their everyday dress?” In other words, which is the illusion? Are they having us on, putting on a show, now? Or was the show the pretension of relative moderation that preceded this spectacle?

    At this point I suspect the party’s over, and we’re seeing something of what was beneath the surface all the time.

  20. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 28, 2017 @10:32 am

    Imo, after Ike – who was practically a Democrat – the Republicans have moved closer to acting like either the Fascist Nazi’s, or the Soviet Politburo Russians.
    Perhaps a mash-up of the two.

  21. Bill  •  Jan 28, 2017 @12:30 pm

    Slavery is necessary for freedom. War is necessary for peace. Corporate Jesus has spoken. And He is good.

  22. grannyeagle  •  Jan 28, 2017 @10:19 pm

    Oprah Winfrey is known for saying that when someone tells you who they are, believe them. Well, looks like a lot of people didn’t believe Trump. They put their own belief and impression on his “make America great again”. One cannot put Pandora back in the box. It’s only been a week and look where we are. Sad and scary.

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