One of candidate Donald Trump’s selling points during the campaign was that he would hire the “best people” to run the government. He’d always hired the best people on his building projects, he insisted, and only partnered with the best people on his many branding ventures. He promised America he would bring that ability to attract top talent to the White House.
14 months into his presidency, and it’s not exactly breaking news to point out that President Donald Trump has had a difficult time finding qualified candidates to fill a wide array of government posts.
Everything from cabinet positions to deputy assistants have seen record turnover or remain empty. And that doesn’t even include the dozens of highly unqualified figures that inexplicably continue to run our government.
While much of the blame for this utter ineptitude falls on the president himself – and anyone who actually believed his used car salesman schtick during the campaign – it isn’t quite fair to pin it all on him.
It is easy to forget, mostly because of his own words and actions, but Trump does have other duties as commander in chief besides hiring and firing people. There are people in the government whose only jobs are recruiting and vetting talent for federal posts. What have they been up to?
Quite a lot it turns out, just not what they’re supposed to be doing. The Washington Post reported Friday that the obscure Presidential Personnel Office (PPO), charged with exactly those roles, is being run like a frat house.
The PPO “was launched with far fewer people than in prior administrations,” The Post reported. “It has served as a refuge for young campaign workers, a stopover for senior officials on their way to other posts and a source of jobs for friends and family…”
“One senior staffer has had four relatives receive appointments through the office.”
It gets worse. Two senior people in the office “have spotty records.” One is “a college dropout with arrests for drunken driving and bad checks,” while the other is a retired Marine Corps reserve “with arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, fleeing an officer and underage drinking.”
More from The Post:
PPO leaders hosted happy hours last year in their offices that included beer, wine and snacks for dozens of PPO employees and White House liaisons who work in federal agencies, White House officials confirmed. In January, they played a drinking game in the office called “Icing” to celebrate the deputy director’s 30th birthday. Icing involves hiding a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a flavored malt liquor, and demanding that the person who discovers it, in this case the deputy director, guzzle it.
This explains a lot. As bad as President Trump may be at his job, it was always a stretch to believe that he alone could run the government into the ground. Clearly, he’s being well served in that endeavor.