Time to Upgrade White House Staff

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President Trump has received well-deserved praise for outstanding cabinet appointments, after installing well-qualified figures at major federal departments. His White House staff selections, however, have been far less appropriate, contributing to a lack of focus in the administration’s early days.

Thirty years ago, my comprehensive history of key presidential aides, THE SHADOW PRESIDENTS, laid out key rules for White House staffers; unfortunately, the Trump team has violated all of them. For instance, successful aides always pursue a “passion for anonymity” whereas assistants like Steve Bannon and Kelly Anne Conway display a passion for publicity. Successful aides must possess the stature to stand up to the boss, telling him “no” when appropriate, but Trump’s inner circle can’t curb his unhelpful instincts to wage distracting twitter wars.

In order to succeed with his ambitious agenda, the president needs more formidable assistants with stronger backbone behind the scenes, who draw less attention to themselves in the media.

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Comments (7)

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  1. James Braselton  •  Mar 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Completely agree. Kelly Anne is a smart women, but obviously unable to stand-up to Trump or to refuse to defend his manifestly false assertions. After statements like "alternative facts," she has lost all credibility.

    As for Steve Bannon, he never had any credibility. His "alt right" track record preceded and discredited him before he accepted the White House staff appointment.

    Trump would be much better served by people who have the courage to tell him when and why he is wrong, rather than to blindly defend his unsupported assertions.

  2. John Train  •  Mar 17, 2017 at 10:45 pm
  3. Jonathon  •  Mar 18, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Sorry Michael, but the world has changed from 30 years ago and your outdated rules don't apply any longer. I think it's ok for you to write the article in the hope that Trump has see it, but Trump is unlike any President we have ever had. He needs our support now , more than our criticism. The media is bombarding us with that everyday. Get on board and become a real conservative and support your president before it's too late. The Left wins because they will do anything to win (including support of their team). The right needs to learn a lesson from them. Trump winning was nothing short of a miracle, and we need to take advantage of what is likely our last chance to save the country. If you dont have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all, we are trying to save the country, just go away!

  4. Jim Bird  •  Mar 18, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Whatever Party Trump starts in the future, I'm all in, 1000%. To have to put up daily with BS like this column from Republicans is a disgrace. But happy-go-lucky Michael thinks democrats, especially the Obamas, have been tricked and duped by unnamed dems who have given them bad advice. And that the Dem Party are really good folks and have no hidden agenda. One million wiki-leaks will never change his mind either, I'm sure. Let's reach across the aisle and compromise a whole bunch, because as all Republicans know oh so well, we are racists and we can't afford to look bad. We must hide in the shadows and only speak in public to denigrate Trump. Michael, I don't know who are or why you hate Trump. You're really a nice

    • Jim Bird  •  Mar 18, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      As I was saying, you're an exceptionally nice man, having met you once, I just wish you would stop chastising him. The Democrats are lieing, accusing him of high crimes on a daily basis, undermining and sabotaging the President and you want him to be Bush? Americans are hurting, the world is far worse than 8 years ago, cop assassinations and terrorist attacks in America are the new norms now. And you want him to shut up? You obviously won't change your mind no matter what what Trump does. It would just be nice if would not aid and abet the Marxists.

  5. Charles Fisher  •  Mar 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Have to agree with Jim Bird & Jonathan. President Trump is getting enough criticism from the left media that we don't have to add to it. Kelly Anne and Steve may not keep a low profile but can't deny there competence.

  6. Bill  •  Mar 26, 2017 at 6:28 am

    All you commenters above: if you're waiting for someone to disagree you'll have to wait awhile cuz you're right. Trump may not get alot of his agenda accomplished. Not his fault. Too many democrats & republicans who don't like change and don't want to improve our country. They need to be voted out, but that whole process takes time maybe more presidential cycles than trump has. Politicians don't have the same visions Americans have. Too bad, our country has so much potential.

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