Mr. X, who has no experience in the medical field and barely can apply a bandaid, replies, “You are wrong. All of you are wrong. You are naïve. We will do radiation instead of surgery. I know best.”
They tell the president that Iran is living up to the deal it made, that North Korea probably will not fully divest itself of its nuclear capability, that ISIS is still a powerful force. The assessments come from presidential appointees Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and CIA Director Gina Haspel among others.
The president doesn’t like hearing that. It goes against what he wants to be true. So he does what he always does when someone disagrees with him. He publicly chastises them and essentially says, “I know best.”
The two situations have similarities, but the consequences are different.
When Mr. X ignores expert advice, he probably is putting the life of Ms. X in jeopardy.
When the president ignores expert advice, he places an entire country in jeopardy.
I recognize that it is not the president’s role to accept blindly the input of his intelligence community. He should indeed listen to what they say, reflect on it, and then decide the correct response.
But it seems as if the process works in reverse with this president. He determines the “correct” response and then accepts the input of his experts, unless of course it doesn’t match his preconceived notions.
Furthermore, he shows no respect for those on whom our country, if not him, relies. What kind of a leader publicly humiliates a dedicated underling? The answer is clear: a very poor leader. If he has a problem with someone working for him, he should speak to him privately. And if he’s going to fire him, he certainly shouldn’t do it via a tweet. Is he afraid of a direct confrontation? Does he fear in any one-on-one he would be the less competent? Is he safer if he attacks in public?
I can think of only three reasons why a person would continue to work for such a vicious and insecure leader. They are true patriots who want to bring some sanity to the execution of domestic and international affairs. They believe in the agenda of the president. They are consumed with ambition.
I hope the reason is the first. There seems to be hope that’s the case because the public stands they took were in direct conflict with the president’s preconceived notions.
I’m deeply worried. I have no faith this president can become sufficiently informed to formulate rational decisions, or even has the ability to make such decisions. In a time of emergency, how will he respond? He already has said he is smarter than his generals. His recent conduct indicates little faith in his intelligence community. He does not believe in science, and by extension scientists.
I hope we survive. But I’m scared of anyone who thinks he knows everything and is smarter than everyone else. When that person is the President of the United States, we all should be terrified.