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Government Of, By, and For Trump

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Robert B. Reich       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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From Robert Reich Blog

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"I need loyalty, I expect loyalty," Trump told then FBI Director James Comey in January -- even though FBI directors are supposed to be independent of a president, and Comey was only four years into a 10 year term.

Comey testified before the Senate that Trump tried to "create some sort of patronage relationship," based on personal loyalty.

After Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.

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Preet Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage relationship with him that he did with Comey.

Bharara's office had been investigating Trump's secretary of health and human services, Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against Deutsche Bank, Trump's principal private lender.

When Bharara didn't play along, Trump fired him.

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Bharara said Comey's testimony "felt a little bit like de'j vu."

In his first and best-known book, "The Art of the Deal," Trump distinguished between integrity and loyalty -- and made clear he preferred loyalty.

Trump compared attorney Roy Cohn -- Senator Joe McCarthy's attack dog who became Trump's mentor -- to "all the hundreds of 'respectable' guys who make careers out of boasting about their uncompromising integrity but have absolutely no loyalty ... What I liked most about Roy Cohn was that he would do just the opposite."

As president, Trump continues to prefer loyalty over integrity.

Although most of his Cabinet still don't have top deputies in place, the White House has installed senior aides to monitor their loyalty. As Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, explained to the Washington Post, "they're functioning as the White House's voice and ears in these departments."

Last Monday, the White House invited reporters in to watch what was billed as a meeting of Trump's Cabinet. After Trump spoke, he asked each of the Cabinet members around the table to briefly comment.

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Their statements were what you might expect from toadies surrounding a two-bit dictator.

"We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda," said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. "Greatest privilege of my life, to serve as vice president to a president who's keeping his word to the American people," said Vice President Mike Pence. "You've set the exact right message," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, adding, "The response is fabulous around the country."

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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