Mero Moment: How can you still work for Donald Trump?

Image by Jennifer Chen / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION — For over two years I have blasted Donald Trump as unfit to be president of the United States. I have been relentless and unforgiving in my opposition. He remains a man of ill repute in my opinion, and for many reasons, I stand by my prediction that he will resign before the end of the year.

But all along I have been haunted by a nagging question: Why have so many smart and experienced people, some of them my friends, gone to work for him? They are not blind. They see what we see. Yet they defend him still or, at the very least, do not resign their positions. Why?

I understand why ideologues such as Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee defend Trump. They are the Grim Reapers of the Right. They, not too differently than Steve Bannon, seek division and contention. Their affections for Trump do not run deep. It’s not the man but the opportunity that drives their consistent defenses.

Bannon’s loyalty to Trump dissolved as soon as he was one goosestep outside of the White House. I get why these guys like what Trump represents in American politics. My question is, why do otherwise reasonable people support and work for Trump?

How many reasons do sane people need to abandon the Good Ship Narcissist?

As far as I can tell, only the generals can have confidence in Trump to let them do their jobs. Everyone else who works for him is undercut, contradicted and often personally humiliated by him. Why stay? Why wait to be fired by this guy? Talk about humiliating.

How awful must it be to be fired by Trump? You get asked, “Were you fired because you stood your ground with him?” “No, I got fired because, well, I guess I wasn’t awful enough for him, even though I defended him until it was laughable.” To work for Trump you have to think like Trump, or so it seems.

But how do we explain Mike Pence, for example? Why would a conservative in principle but moderate in tone and style agree to work for Trump? Pence is no ideologue. He is a moderately conservative politician and religious man.

He was asked to serve as vice president because evangelical voters love him – which thought raises a separate but related question: Why do evangelicals love crotch-grabbing, unfailingly secular Trump? I suppose it is because Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is not a crotch-grabber. Even so, evangelical support for Trump boggles the rational mind.

Uncharacteristically, permit me to offer even faint praise for many good people who work for Donald Trump: At least they are not Trump.

For what it is worth, I received a phone call shortly after the election from a friend who seemed to be in the hiring loop for the new Trump administration. She asked me if I would be open to some consideration. I replied I am open to just about anything, but the right position for me in a Trump administration necessarily would be a position in which I could serve the nation but not Trump.

Of course, I never received a follow-up call. But many good people did.

There can come a time in the career of a political operative or policymaker when you take one for the team. In this case, hiring on with Trump is taking one for the team. Outside of the White House, Trump has little direct influence, believe it or not. The Washington bureaucracy is deeply entrenched, often immovable and distant from the chief executive.

For instance, Ben Carson, at Housing and Urban Development, hires his own team. They are political appointees that oversee career bureaucrats. If Ben Carson thought he could do some good at HUD, I can see why he would take the job, even if Trump were slinging dung like a howler monkey.

So there exists a rear guard of sorts in the Trump administration. These are people doing one of two things, or both. First, they still believe in American exceptionalism and democratic processes. Or second, they stay there to pick up the pieces when Trump resigns.

Call it the “Pence Rule.” Mike Pence came on board because he knew he could play an important role in trying to temper and moderate an inexperienced and disorderly Trump. He also came on board at the prospect of becoming president of the United States. I think this is a similar scenario for General Kelly as well and perhaps many other insiders such as Kellyanne Conway.

Only time will tell. There may be wisdom in what I can only describe as irrationality. I could not work for Trump. But many good people can and do.

I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

Paul Mero is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: paul.mero@nextgenfreedomfund.org

Twitter: @STGnews

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49 Comments

  • high5 August 25, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Well Polly- when He doesn’t resign? Why don’t You Resign- You head has inserted itself where there is No Light😐
    Stop Bashing and Start Supporting !! You Negative Pencil Head🤣🤣🤣

  • statusquo August 25, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Hillary was the only other option and as she is still asking, “What Happened”?

  • DRT August 25, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Trump must be doing something right, to get Mero’s undying hatred!

    • bikeandfish August 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Is that the standard for the POTUS now? As long as you are trolling your partisan opposition you are winning? Talk about race to the bottom.

      • Henry August 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm

        Worked well for Obama.

        • bikeandfish August 25, 2017 at 8:19 pm

          Ah, so you embrace the logic and strategies of a race to the bottom? Do actually think this mentality and politics are good for America?

          • Henry August 25, 2017 at 10:13 pm

            I will ask you not to accuse me of unsupported claims, like embracing the logic and strategies of a race to the bottom. I merely noted that President Obama engaged in this same behavior.

          • bikeandfish August 25, 2017 at 10:33 pm

            I was asking (hence question mark) since you didn’t engage idea but made another flippant tit- for-tat partisan remark. That sort of “but he did it too” remark is actually a trademark rhetorical tool of race to the bottom politics. Seems like you don’t value that so why engage such empty rhetoric?

          • Henry August 26, 2017 at 7:48 am

            Your use of the interjection “ah” as an indication of discovery belies that; it indicates that what follows it was a rhetorical question. Again, stop making assumptions and making baseless accusations. Trolling our remarks is a trademark of a race-to-the-bottom.

        • bikeandfish August 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm

          Ah is an interjection which I principally use in its common expression of suprise and shock. You interpret it as an suggestion that the question is rhetorical. In fact, as my follow up exposed, I actually was surprised and believed your firm statement about not valuing that type of politics. You ignored that in your follow up. I trust and respect your clarifications. I sincerely ask you to do the same

          So I ask again…why insert Obama since you don’t value such political discourse. When you look at my question directed at the other person it was clearly a question about public expectations of Presidential behavior, hence the generic use of POTUS. What purpose does inserting Obama into that context serve?

          • Henry August 26, 2017 at 9:20 pm

            The Merriam Webster dictionary specifies the use of the interjection “ah” as a signal of surprise which modifies following the phrases as accusatory towards the person toward which it is directed. I trust that you are being sincere when you say that you intended to use it in another manner. I sincerely ask that you return the same level of respect in return.

            I find it rather unfortunate that you continue to assume I made “don’t value such political discourse” when I never stated that I didn’t. That would be like me reading between the lines of your statements and assuming you support race-to-the-bottom politics.

            The point of my comment was that President Obama already engaged in similar behavior for which you are now citing President Trump. It did not address the public expectations of any President engaging in that type of behavior.

        • bikeandfish August 27, 2017 at 12:33 am

          I am not sure how we are misreading each other. I fully believe and trust your statements and I have tried to make that clear. I think you are acting in good faith, hence my willingness to engage. I wouldn’t waste my time asking questions if I didn’t.

          Sorry that is getting lost in writing or translation.

  • Lastdays August 25, 2017 at 10:56 am

    This is kind of a nothing story.
    The same thing could have been written when Obama was president.
    Half the nation, or more, would not have been able to work with or for that guy.

  • John August 25, 2017 at 11:25 am

    He already saved the country on election night ! He stopped Satan’s Grandmother from winning the White House ! He’s doing a fine job considering all the whining and obstruction by the democrats and liberal MSM. He keeps winning and the left just keeps crying..last month it was Russia, now he’s a racist and they are pissed at statues. Why don’t you fools stop trying to catch a unicorn and look at a REAL issue. You are really looking quite foolish following that MSM carrot.

  • comments August 25, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Trump really isn’t the worst. Look at the R-party in general. They have majority is the house and senate and still abysmally fail to govern in a way that looks out for the interests of the American people. Absolute failure. Their health plan is such an abysmal failure they couldn’t even get their own party on board. Dems only slightly better as I’ve said and too heavy into the multi-cult. It’s time to leave these old dinosaur corrupt parties behind. If you R-party nutters think your party is going to fix ANYTHING then you are part of the problem.

    • John August 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      tired of losing yet?

    • mctrialsguy August 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      The Republican Party does amazingly well considering that the Liberal Obstructionists are standing in their way, and the Liberals own CNN, ABC, NBC, etc.. I am so glad that half of the country can see right through the Liberal domination and tyranny! If they would only step back a step so that really smart people can straighten out their created messes! Obviously Paul & Ed are in bed together or brothers of a different mother.

      • Real Life August 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm

        You are right about one thing, the media bias has become a complete joke. In my opinion, they are the reason that Trump is now our president. Right or wrong, the mistrust of the media, and the past administration catapaulted him into office.

      • comments August 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm

        Let’s see, the last time we had a republican pres: massive housing bubble, 4.50/gal gas, collapsed economy. Hard to top all that. Fundamentally, within the R-party, nothing has changed since Bush II . And for the record it isn’t “libruls” that own the msm, it’s our zionist rulers. And they control the bulk of your beloved repub party as well.

        • comments August 25, 2017 at 7:08 pm

          To find out who really rules over you find out who it is you’re not allowed to criticize. Not my quote but 100% true.

      • comments August 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm

        “Liberal Obstructionists are standing in their way”

        Until the base realizes what a bunch of corrupt garbage the Repub party is, not a lot is gonna change. We need it to self destruct from within so something better can be built. Like henry down there said, Republicans control all three branches of government, and what have they accomplished? it’s nothing but a circus. They’d love to leave the country damaged in the way W bush did. Trillion dollar bailouts for wallstreet banks paid for with taxpayer debt? Any of you nutters recall that? That was your repub party.

  • John August 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    tired of losing yet?

  • Henry August 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Hey Mero, why don’t you never-Trumper Neo-Conservatives quit obsessing about Trump’s behavior and start using him? How about producing some of that “conservatism” you’re always claiming, and give him something to sign?

    Or are you just too hateful and too indebted to the establishment status quo to take advantage of Republicans actually controlling all three branches of government?

    No, we can’t repeal and replace Obamacare. We can’t fix a broken tax system. We can’t stop the spending. And we certainly can’t build a wall!

    No, we can’t do anything, if that nasty man gets the credit – right, Mero?

    • comments August 25, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      “No, we can’t repeal and replace Obamacare. We can’t fix a broken tax system. We can’t stop the spending. And we certainly can’t build a wall!”

      The repub congress are too corrupt and self-serving to accomplish anything for the people of this country, dems only a slight improvement. This is a broken and corrupt system. It’ll take a real political mastermind to begin to fix it and I doubt it’ll be the donald. He can’t even get his own cabinet and admin in order.

      • Henry August 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

        You’re right, it’s a broken and corrupt system. If Trump can’t make progress draining the swamp, I doubt anyone else can, because any future candidates will most likely be a product of that same system.

        • bikeandfish August 25, 2017 at 10:53 pm

          Do you not think Trump is part and parcel of that system already? Inherited wealth used to buy privilege through lobbying. Using government power to benefit private business (undeniable given personal wealth being generated through property rented to government employees and charging government for hours used on his private jet, just to name the obvious). Talk about grifting. There is no precedent for someone making as much profit as he is off his position while actually president. Afterward, plenty of folks have leveraged power for lucrative incomes, but nothing like this. Trump has cost taxpayers $20 million in flights alone for the 50 days spent at his Bedminster and Mar a Lago properties. For consideration, he has only been in office 7 months. He has visited personal properties one out of every four days. Remember when he said, and I quote, “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf” when critiquing Obama’s allegedly excessive vacation days?

          • Henry August 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

            False analogy. Trump was a private businessman interacting with the government bureaucracy. He did not make an entire career of climbing the political ladder, getting elected and reelected by pay-for-play.

          • comments August 26, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            Yup, I knew this donald would be a garbage pres as soon as he endorsed the psychopathic paul ryan’s “health care” scheme. utter, self-serving garbage

          • bikeandfish August 27, 2017 at 12:56 am

            How is Trump’s current self-dealing a distraction in a conversation about corruption? How is that “tit-for-tat”, ie equivalent retaliation?

            I believe in holding Presidents accountable both to their platform, and own words, as well as the highest standards of the office. There is no tit-for-tat in that approach as its a consistent approach to every president, no matter their party affiliation. And its not retaliation to proactively expect such a powerful position to uphold those standards and critique them when they don’t. Especially when it is so inconsistent with their own words and promises.

            There is no distraction here as how he behaves and self-deals impacts everything. It limits coalition building, needed for any ability to move policy ahead, and completely undermines the integrity of a conservative, small government for the people platform.

            The President can “Make America Great Again” by serving the interest of the people not his own self-interest. That was the foundation of his entire campaign and administrations’ agenda and the examples I provided are relevant to that reality.

        • bikeandfish August 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

          It wasn’t a false analogy as you only stated he wasn’t a “product” of a “broken and corrupt system”. Pay to play wasn’t previously mentioned. Im fact, your responded who explicitly stated an issue with “self-serving” politicians. You are right that Trump isn’t a career politician (yet. Once again it’s unprecedented to rally for an election this early) but that wasn’t the context. I provided plenty of verifiable evidence of corruption and self-serving.

          • bikeandfish August 26, 2017 at 6:12 pm

            * responded to someone who.

            Struggling with this text system

          • Henry August 26, 2017 at 9:22 pm

            Actually it was a correct analogy, but you are misinterpreting the logical meaning of my statement. I was merely drawing a parallel between a private citizen and a public career elected official. The items which you cited were irrelevant or superfluous to the comparison.

            I have no interest in engaging in the standard tit-for-tat about the personal attributes of our recent or current Presidents, nor provide predictions of their future behavior. I won’t engage in that strategy and I think those that do, use it as an intentional distraction.

  • Utahguns August 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Are Kociela and Mero bred from the same stock?
    …You know STGNews, having too much of a left wing presentation will make us start going elsewhere for our thought diet.
    I won’t support a Washington Post wannabe….

    • John August 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Oh come on now..the liberal bias of these so called “intellectual columnists” is quite entertaining. They continually show the total ignorance of actual facts that the left embraces. If it weren’t for these opinionated bloat heads we would have so much less to laugh at. Always remember “Opinions are like ***holes, everybody has one !”

      • Utahguns August 25, 2017 at 7:25 pm

        Your comment was good……:)
        The libertards do provide some “nose holding” entertainment, except when the “vandal side” of them starts showing.

    • DRT August 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

      I really don’t think so. Not often, but once in a while, Kociela actually comes up with a more moderate column. Besides, he’s a fun guy to poke fun at. He has a little native intelligence, and once in a while, it shows through.
      Mero, on the other hand, has shown no redeeming qualities whatsoever, at least that I have seen.

      • DRT August 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        Meh I was responding to U G’s post. Obviously I didn’t hit the appropriate “Reply” button…smh

  • utahdiablo August 25, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Well Paul, as your “Girl” Hillary said….at this point what differance does it make…so enjoy the next three years, as there’s nothing you can do about it….and that works for me

  • commonsense August 26, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Perhaps you, Paul are the ideologue. You have made it a battle of persona rather than issues. Because Trump is openly flawed and not evangelical, you write him off.

    I believe we saw in Mitt Romney, that a religious zealot cannot be elected. Now we have a guy in the White House who is willing to advance policy to the right and you hate him because he reportedly grabbed a crotch.

    Can we, at some point, come to grips with the problems in America and stop talking about leadership style?

    • bikeandfish August 27, 2017 at 1:23 am

      But “leadership style” is substance of the Executive. In the US, unlike many other democratic nations, the President is both the symbolic leader and the political leader. Successfully implementing an agenda at that level requires navigating both roles judiciously. Instead, he acts with petulance towards his own allies ultimately undermining his own success. How many conservative Congress members has he openly attacked in the last seven months? How many folks in his own administration and cabinet has he thrown under the bus?

      I totally understand folks wanted an outsider. But that still requires someone who knows the value of teamwork. Politically beating people into submission is a blunt tool that only scares people away when used so regularly and pointlessly.

      All sadly ironic from some who bragged that “deals are my art form.”

      I definitely don’t get sabotaging ones own party and platform with mass resignations but I can also understand being confused by folks wanting to work for Trump.

      • comments August 27, 2017 at 11:05 am

        You type a lot of words but bring nothing new to the table. no new ideas. almost seem naive.

        • bikeandfish August 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

          I have no doubt you interpret my comments as such and believe your statements, “comment”. Would you care to share anything in response to my ideas other then superficial insults?

          • comments August 28, 2017 at 7:48 pm

            didn’t actually see any ideas in there, so idk. and trust me, i haven’t insulted u

          • comments August 28, 2017 at 7:52 pm

            if u turn into one of these halfwit r-wing loons on here then i will insult u

  • CHJ August 26, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful article and for asking many of the same questions I have asked since the election. I find it unfortunate that most of the comments make no attempt to engage your questions but instead are filled with such anger and contention.

    • bikeandfish August 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      I think the author asked some fair questions. To the broader one, I think there are many moderates who are sticking around because they know resigning positions ultimately forfeits ground to an individual who doesn’t align well with much of our democracy. And at the end of the day I think that strategy is working as many of the more extreme members of his inner circle have jumped ship in the last 2 months.

      I think there are hard working and highly educated people who truly care about enacting meaningful change and policy and see no option but work with an executive that is less than desirable. Trump won but that doesn’t mean the folks around him can’t influence the direction of the administration away from some of his more dangerous, hyperbolic campaign promises. And I don’t have to agree with specific party allegiance to see how helpful it is for Jeff Sessions to act with ethical courage and recuse himself from an investigation he is inherently indicated by. Its important to have people of principle who know when to make the right decision when executive themselves wants to bypass legal tradition rooted in earnest values. I see that as a high level example of why people are working with him.

      That is what I have interpreted. How about yourself?

  • dodgers August 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Paul-
    Our president is on the front lines, fighting to drain the swamp, which is mostly comprised of the establishment (both sides of the aisle), lobbyists and the mainstream media. Many people want to join in the fight, an opportunity to purge the stench, reverse course and return our government to the people.
    It’s similar to why people enlist in the military—-to serve their country.
    Americans have had it and want to be part of the effort, in the foxhole with our president, to Make America Great Again.
    These are also the reasons why Trump was elected president and why good people have a desire to be part of the solution.

    • bikeandfish August 26, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Can I ask how you support his efforts to “drain the swamp” with explicit mention of the “mainstream media” when our founding fathers so consistently and rightfully tried to protect the fourth estate. They thought the value of a free press was self evident. A couple critical quotes, especially about the role of the media to censure (not censor) the government:

      Thomas Jefferson:

      “The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves, nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe. ~”

      Supreme Court:

      “In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.”

      First Continental Congress:

      “The last right we shall mention regards the freedom of the press. The importance of this consists, besides the advancement of truth, science, morality, and arts in general, in its diffusion of liberal sentiments on the administration of Government, its ready communication of thoughts between subjects, and its consequential promotion of union among them, whereby oppressive officers are shamed or intimidated into more honourable and just modes of conducting affairs…..
      ….These are the rights without which a people cannot be free and happy, and under the protecting and encouraging influence of which these colonies have hitherto so amazingly flourished and increased. These are the rights a profligate Ministry are now striving by force of arms to ravish from us, and which we are with one mind resolved never to resign but with our lives.”

      Remember that, the founding fathers saw the role of the free press as a means to “shame and intimidate” members of the government into “more honourable” choices. The felt compelled enough to give their lives to protect this tradition.

      So tell me how any interpretation of the founding fathers or the Constitution can be used to the support a President who does the exact opposite of their intentions? He has weaponized everything that runs contrary to the freedom of press and turned our traditions on their heads. That doesn’t mean citizens can’t work to better our “mainstream media” but it does mean we need to be vigilante against Trump (and any president) that tries to censure the press.

  • ladybugavenger August 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Trump for President!
    I ❤️ Our President!
    I ❤️ Trump

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