FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump 1, Tillerson 0

by

Adopt the character of the twisting octopus, which takes on the appearance of the nearby rock. Now follow in this direction, now turn a different hue.

— Therognis, Elegies

Here’s the score: DJT 1, Rex Tillerson 0.  It would, of course, have been consistent with the calibre of other DJT appointees to have the flawed Elliott Abrams back in government. He would have fit in beautifully.  But for those who hoped for at least a few people of moral character to be appointed to the DJT administration, it was, at first blush, reassuring that in the DJT-Tillerson contest, DJT won.  It seemed that at long last (insofar as 4 weeks can be considered “long”) the integrity of a candidate that was selected to join the DJT administration mattered.  And the rejection of a candidate like Elliott who, the casual observer might rightfully have thought, was rejected because of his flawed character, would have been welcome news coming just as Mike Flynn, another man of deeply flawed character, was being expelled.  And Mike was an example of a REALLY bad appointment.

According to Politico, in the three months preceding the election,  Mike had forwarded Twitter posts that, among other things, accused Hillary Clinton of being involved in money laundering, sex crimes involving children, and of having “secretly waged war on the Catholic Church.”  Mike’s use of the internet to propagate lies about DJT’s opponent was, so far as DJT was concerned, no reason to not appoint him National Security Advisor.  It never occurred to DJT that someone he appointed of such infirm moral character might, Judas-like, turn on the very man who appointed him within a matter of days after being appointed.  That, of course, is exactly what Mike did when he caused the vice president of the United States to lie to the American people because Mike had lied to the vice president.  As a result, when the lies became public knowledge, which was several days after DJT had learned of them, DJT got rid of Mike. Those who wondered why a chronic liar had been appointed in the first place, thought that that experience might have been a wake up moment for DJT, and that he would try, in the future, to avoid appointing those with known character flaws to high positions in his muddled administration. Enter Rex Tillerson and Elliott Abrams.

Rex Tillerson is the Secretary of State and a man uniquely unqualified to serve in that position because of his lack of experience.  Recognizing his own limitations, he recommended to DJT that Elliott Abrams, a man with considerable state department experience, be made his Deputy Secretary of State. Mr. Tillerson believed that having a seasoned foreign policy professional beside him, even one lacking in moral character, would serve him in good stead.  And Elliott had plenty in his background to demonstrate a lack of moral fiber.

In 1991 Elliott entered a plea of guilty to two criminal charges in connection with the criminal enterprise known as the  Iran-Contra affair that took place under the Reagan administration.  He pled guilty to the charge of withholding evidence from Congress and was sentenced to probation for two years and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.  In 1997, Elliott was publicly censured by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for having given false testimony before congressional committees on three different occasions relating to his activities in connection with the Iran Contra affair.

One might have thought that in considering Mr. Tillerson’s request that Elliott be appointed, DJT would have concluded that with those kinds of blemishes, DJT did not need to add to the stable of incompetents and moral cripples that he had already appointed to high positions in his administration, by selecting a flawed Elliott Abrams to be Deputy Secretary of State.  Had he refused to appoint him and cited those reasons in support of his decision, the people would have understood and applauded him for at long last applying strict moral standards in determining whether a proposed appointee had the qualification one might hope for in an appointee to a high governmental post.  It was an exciting prospect.

The interviews with Tillerson, DJT, and Abrams,   reportedly went smoothly.  Then a funny thing happened, and Elliott was not appointed.  The failure to appoint him had nothing to do with Elliott’s ethical infirmities as one might have hoped. It happened because it was brought to DJT’s attention that Elliott had written unfavorably about DJT prior to the election. In one piece he wrote: “Do not allow the Republican convention to be a coronation wherein Trump and Trumpisms are unchallenged. The party needs to be reminded that there are deep divisions, and Trump needs to be reminded of how many in the party oppose and even fear his nomination.”  In a column for the Weekly Standard” Elliott described DJT as “someone who cannot win and should not be president of the United States.”   When DJT was informed of Elliott’s published comments, those comments reportedly caused DJT to reject  Mr. Tillerson’s request that Elliott be named the Deputy Secretary of State. The rejection had nothing to do with Abrams’ character.  It was all about DJT’s ego.  A good result for the wrong reason.  Sort of  sad.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
Rob Seimetz
Measuring Manhoods
Edward Curtin
Sorry, You’re Not Invited
Vern Loomis
Winning the Lottery is a State of Mind
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
David Yearsley
The Ethos of Mayfest
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail