The alert came across my phone, with a buzz. “White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned.” I don’t know Sean Spicer; I’ve only shared a room with him once. But I laughed at the alert. I noticed my own reaction to the news was little different from hearing an item about a coal miner being rescued from a disaster. Finally! Sean Spicer has reached safety. I imagined him emerging from the little press office on the side of the White House, covered in soot and looking like a man who newly appreciates freedom.
Donald Trump is a nightmare of a boss. His inability to command loyalty from his political hirelings through insults and threats is not only degrading the functioning of his White House; it is threatening the very legitimacy of his administration.
Consider the case of Senator Jeff Sessions this week. Jeff Sessions was Trump’s most important and earliest supporter among elected Republicans. He gave Trump’s campaign credibility and some depth on signature issues such as immigration. But when Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, Trump vented his anger publicly. He then called up the New York Times weeks later to vent again and to say that he wouldn’t have hired Sessions if he’d known that Sessions was likely to recuse himself.