Reality TV created the myth of Donald Trump, and American voters bought into it. "The Apprentice" established Trump as a top-shelf business manager whose keen eye for talent was key to the Trump brand's success. Just enough American voters embraced the myth to elevate a real estate developer and game show host to the presidency.
A controversial bombshell book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," outlines in great detail how woefully unprepared Trump was to take on the most important office in the world. Trump reportedly is apoplectic over the book, and White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denounced it as fiction. But a president to whom The Washington Post has attributed 1,950 lies is hardly someone to take seriously when he calls author Michael Wolff a liar.
What's not fiction is the trail of chaos and disaster that has followed Trump since Inauguration Day. The man behind the reality show actually has little use for top talent and tosses senior staffers overboard like ballast from a sinking ship. Recall just a few of those who fell in the battle to keep the Trump myth alive:
– Reince Priebus, who lasted only six months as Trump's first chief of staff;
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– Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, who survived only three weeks in the job and is now a cooperating witness after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia scandal;
– Stephen Bannon, the chief strategist who helped align Trump with the white supremacist movement;
– Mike Dubke, the White House communications director who lasted only three months in the job;
– Anthony Scaramucci, the dapper replacement for Dubke who publicly self-destructed and lasted only one week on the job;
– Sean Spicer, the press secretary and communications director whose disastrous first days on the job included lying about the size of Trump's inaugural crowd;
– Tom Price, the secretary of health and human resources who resigned after reports surfaced that he had spent more than $1 million of taxpayer money on private travel accommodations.
That's just a sample of Trump's disastrous hiring and management decisions. He is either a lousy judge of character, or he has a badly misplaced sense of priorities on what qualifies a person to serve inside the highest office in the land. For Trump, it's not about talent; it's about blind, unwavering loyalty and a willingness to be publicly berated if it helps elevate Trump's image.
Because Trump so casually undercuts his staffers and dismisses their sacrifices, they will eventually stop giving him the loyalty he demands and grow amenable to cooperation with investigators probing possible White House connections to Russian election meddling and obstruction of justice.
The exposed Trump myth is now a bestselling book. But if his already-sinking approval ratings are any indication, most Americans realized long ago that they've been conned.