The "Garbage" Came from the President, Not His Advisors
What good were the "adults in the room?"
1. The Mick
I’ve always liked Mick Mulvaney. Nice guy. Smart guy. Serious guy. I was at an event he spoke at in 2017 (I think) and I remember telling him that he ought to be the only person in the administration allowed to communicate with the public, including Trump himself.
Anyway, here is Mick Mulvaney offering his insights on yesterday’s hearing:
That’s true to a point, I guess. But there are two problems with this analysis:
(1) Even when Trump was surrounded by “good” people there was a lot of “garbage in” coming from the president himself. Remember Trump’s Ukrainian “drug deal”? Or that time he wanted the military to shoot citizens who were protesting peacefully?
So the relationship here between garbage going in/out was less about bad advisors pushing garbage upstream to Trump and more about the “good” advisors standing downstream to intercept some of the toxic waste emanating from the president himself. This is a point in favor of the “adults in the room” brigade who believed that they had to keep supporting Trump in order to stop the real crazies.
(2) But also . . . Mick Mulvaney was still part of the administration on January 6. He surely knew that the garbage was going both in and out. And the entire idea of the “adults in the room” theory is that you’re there to stop the crazies. If Mulvaney knew that the crazies were in charge, then he had a duty to resign his post and publicly raise the alarm before the attempted coup.
And yet he said . . . nothing. He stayed until January 7.
Which makes the idea that Mulvaney and others like him needed to serve Trump in order to be the “adults in the room” look less like a principled form of patriotism and more like an alibi and a dodge.
There are other oddities in Mulvaney’s recent pieces of analysis.
The “garbage in/out, it was Navarro’s fault” line goes against Mulvaney’s previous line of defense, which was that the coordination between the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers was somehow proof that Trump didn’t incite the mob.
And that line came before he switched to the Costanza defense:
That’s right: Unless the committee proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump absolutely did not believe that he had lost, then he was on the side of the angels.
But he changed his tune because he wanted to be relevant in Trump’s Washington. And this subjugation worked for Mick, as it did for everyone else in the party/movement. Mick rode his submission all way to (acting) chief of staff.
Then the coup happened and Mulvaney turned on Trump again.
And now, out of government and raking in private-sector doubloons like Scrooge McDuck, Mulvaney has decided to mount a series of nonsensical defenses of Trump concerning the specific event that caused his last change of heart.
When you look at the lightweights and grifters around #ThisTown, you can understand why they got right with Trumpism. It’s harder to understand what motivated guys like Mulvaney and the other serious people.
It’s comforting to think that it was some sort of mass psychosis. But that’s not the truth.
The truth is that all of these elites and their institutions