New lows in leadership, communication

Administration bizarrely attacks its own in public, profane ways

FILE/Associated Press White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci offered newsroom leaders a test on Thursday. They needed to decide whether to fully use the obscenities relied on by Scaramucci to describe fellow White House aides or talk around them.

We received a lengthy, spirited defense of President Trump earlier this week from a loyal reader.

 

He withdrew it before it could be published.

“I can’t stomach Scaramucci or Trump’s mistreatment of Attorney General Sessions,” he explained in an email.

It’s just one letter writer – but it’s a powerful sign that the chaos and coarseness taking hold of the White House is cutting into President Trump’s formerly impenetrable base.

Certainly new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s bizarre and profane public rant about Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, was shocking and off-putting to most sensibilities. It’s a new low in modern American presidential history; even Richard Nixon apparently thought he was cursing only for posterity on those White House tapes.

Add that to President Trump’s grotesque public shaming of Jeff Sessions – a fine man and a loyal soldier – and we’ve just experienced one of the most unsettling, unseemly weeks in presidential annals outside of assassinations, interns and Watergate.

It’s enough that Scaramucci both called out and seemed to threaten Priebus and administration chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in an expletive-brimming New Yorker interview Wednesday. But the locker-room manner in which he did so demeaned much more than his intended targets. It debased and diminished the White House itself, and further degraded the public discourse. This is a communications director?

Scaramucci mused in an interview on CNN Thursday that his relationship with Priebus may be beyond repair. You think? But how can Scaramucci’s own relationship with the American public be salvaged? How can such a vulgar, intemperate, back-stabbing diatribe be swept away? How can we un-see this?

There were actually those in social media who tried to defend Mr. Trump’s public humiliation of Attorney General Sessions. To them, we noted that there are innumerable books, audio books and DVDs out there on sound leadership principles and practices: We defy you to produce one, just one of them, that recommends publicly discrediting, reproaching and ridiculing your subordinates.

We now breathlessly await the diehards’ defense of Scaramucci’s bedside manner.

Do you suppose that’s how one should comport oneself the first week on the job? You want to try that?

Cannibalism has broken out at the White House.

This would all be a tragicomedy were it not so dangerous. How many more folks with zero impulse control will now take control of our Executive Branch?

 

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