February 17, 2017


Trump's Public Humiliation (Fred Kaplan, 2/17/17, Slate)

The rejection is stunning in several ways that go well beyond the scope of Trump's personal sensitivities. First, it is very unusual--almost unheard of--for a senior military officer, retired or otherwise, to turn down a request from the commander-in-chief.

Second, and largely for that reason, by rejecting the offer Harward has provided cover to other officers, and to civilian national-security analysts with a similar sense of patriotic duty, to turn down this president, too. Service, in this case, is not its own reward and by no stretch worth the sacrifice.

Third, the Financial Times, Washington Post, CNN, and other news outlets are reporting that Harward turned down the offer in part because Trump wouldn't let him fire several officials that Flynn had hired for his staff and install his own team instead. This suggests that Trump is adamant on keeping certain people loyal to him--including Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, a former Fox News commentator who Trump admired. The news reports don't mention whether Harward made demands about Steve Bannon, Trump's chief political strategist, who wrote the executive order that placed himself on the NSC Principals Committee and has created a parallel NSC structure called the Strategic Initiatives Group, comprised of a few extreme right-wing associates. But any serious person would insist on the dismantling of this weird group as another condition for taking the job.

Posted by at February 17, 2017 6:01 AM