Throughout his administration, Trump has routinely discarded the advice of experts. Of course, the president has the prerogative to make his own decisions. But Trump has not only opted to disregard their advice; he has decided he doesn’t need to hear it at all, making policy moves based on little information—a tendency recently demonstrated by his precipitous withdrawal from Syria.
Trump has also hired bosses who make life at places like the State Department miserable. His first secretary, Rex Tillerson, was regarded as levelheaded on policy and not especially political, though those tendencies eventually got him fired by Trump. But Tillerson embarked on a quixotic overhaul of the department’s workforce that alienated many employees, and a steady stream of high-ranking career officials left. Pompeo, though more political, seemed concerned with improving morale, but his decision not to back Yovanovitch erased that work. (Adding insult to injury, she testified that Pompeo sent a deputy to talk to her rather than doing it himself.) The president, meanwhile, has routinely attacked government employees as being part of a deep state.
Disregarding experts is a bad way to make policy for many reasons, but as these cases demonstrate, it’s bad politics, too. My colleague Mike Giglio recently noted that after Trump spent years demonizing the intelligence services, it was an intelligence official, following legal channels to a T, who filed the whistle-blower complaint that sparked impeachment. And it’s long-demonized officials in foreign policy who are now fueling the fire.