Trump and cabinet secretaries
Credit: Official White House photo by Benjamin Applebaum/FLICKR

I wrote yesterday about the possibility that Rex Tillerson might resign as Secretary of State. He has a list of things he’s angry about, but one item is that he doesn’t like how Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being treated. If Erick Erickson can be believed, Tillerson isn’t the only cabinet member who is displeased with the president’s attacks on Sessions.

“If he can get treated that way, what about the rest of us?” one of the President’s Cabinet secretaries asked me with both shock and anger in his voice. I am told reports about Rex Tillerson (not who I talked to) are legitimate. He is quite perturbed with the President’s treatment of his Attorney General and is ready to quit. Secretary Mattis (also not who I talked to) is also bothered by it. They and other Cabinet members are already frustrated by the slow pace of appointments for their staffs, the vetoes over qualified people for not being sufficiently pro-Trump, and the Senate confirmation pace.

In fact, the Cabinet secretary I talked to raised the issue of the White House staff vetoes over loyalty, blasting the White House staff for blocking qualified people of like mind because they were not pro-Trump and now the President is ready to fire the most loyal of all the Cabinet members. “It’s more of a clusterf**k than you even know,” the Cabinet secretary tells me about dealing with the White House on policy. It is not just Tillerson ready to bail.

This is all cast as largely about staffing and independence, and then secondarily about basic respect. But it has to be about the whole package represented by Trump, including his lack of ethics, discipline, focus, knowledge and common sense. And, of course, there’s the lack of effectiveness and the fact that Trump often makes their jobs harder, especially if they have to interact with foreign countries or are responsible for our security.

Trump doesn’t treat his cabinet well and can’t even show loyalty to his most loyal supporter, and he makes their jobs unpleasant and needlessly difficult and thankless.

This is easy to see even from the outside, but now we’re getting dispatches from the inside. I expect that the edifice of this administration is made of straw. It is not built to weather a storm.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at