The presented political meme includes two pictures of Donald Trump with the upper caption reading “You’re hired!” with the following caption stating “You’re fired!”. The meme was inspired by a series of appointments and quick dismissals from the office that followed numerous politicians during Trump’s time in the office. It seems that whoever opposes the president’s current political agenda or whose affiliation somehow discredits the President either gets removed from the position or switched to a less important role. The apparent inability to choose appropriate individuals for the position and standing by one’s decisions is being satirically parodied in this choice of captions and pictures.
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On September 10, 2019, President Donald Trump fired John R. Bolton, his third security advisor, stating that his incompetent approach led to the worsening of relationships between the US, North Korea, Iran, and Afghanistan. Bolton’s approach was deemed as either too hard-lined or too soft, depending on the source. As it stands, the new candidate for the position of national security advisor is still being deliberated, but the President is steadily running out of capable candidates for the position.
This is not the first individual to suffer from Mr. Trump’s contradictory decisions. Lu and Yourish report that the current office has already beaten the record for achieving the largest cabinet turnover during Trump’s first term. The current list of replaced personnel is as follows (Lu &Yourish):
- Communications chief – six replacements, with Stephanie Grisham being the seventh and holding office for the past 68 days;
- Secretary of homeland security – three replacements, with the current acting secretary being Kevin McAleenan;
- Chief of staff – two replacements, with the current one being Mick Mulvaney;
- Press secretary – two fired, the current post occupied by Stephanie Grisham;
- Secretary of veteran affairs – three replacements;
- National security advisor – four replacements, candidate pending;
- Administrator of small business – two replacements;
- Director of national intelligence – two replacements;
- Attorney general – two replacements;
- Secretary of defense – two replacements;
- E.P.A administrator, Budget director, Secretary of Interior, Secretary of labor, secretary of state, C.I.A director, and Chief economic advisor positions – one replacement each;
These shifts in position are causing the country serious problems in the the economy as well as internal and international politics. One of the biggest issues is that most people placed in the position of power have little previous experience of holding office (Young). Such a situation means that a period of acclimatization must pass before the new candidate gets used to the new realities of their position. Typically, this period takes between 3 months and a year. Frequent changes in the cabinet mean that the entire organization is stuck in a loophole when one minister gets replaced by the other by the end of their trial-and-error period. As a result, the command structure gets paralyzed by ineptitude.
Another issue with such a strategy lies in the undermining of leadership and interpersonal relationships between employees. When a leader is being replaced every 1-8 months, subordinate divisions become disillusioned with the realities of their leadership and allow themselves to ignore, boycott, or bypass orders they feel are faulty or irrelevant (Young). There is no reason to fear retribution, as, by the time the new secretary or director gets to deal with it, they are going to be replaced.
Such an approach does not earn the President any respect in the international arena. It demonstrates a crippling lack of leadership and an inability to choose a loyal and competent team to help one govern a country as large and powerful as the USA (Young). As a result, diplomatic relationships suffer, as most foreign dignitaries do not feel confident to negotiate with any representatives from the US, knowing that chances are they might be replaced within a short period of time, potentially by a candidate with a diametrically opposing view on the scope of agreements. Trump’s controversial policy towards China and Iran exemplifies this trend.
Lastly, there are economic consequences of switching personnel often. Aside from the obvious effects of decreased efficiency of the organizations that have their leaders switched out every several months, every replacement comes with a generous severance package that has to be paid to the individual who gets replaced, thus increasing the expenditures on personnel and wasting money that could have been used elsewhere (Young). Instead of using it to better the lives of many Americans, the White House uses it to fix its own blunders.
To summarize, President Trump did not approach the elections alone – he came with a crew of “solid” specialists whom he could trust with governing the state. As the meme demonstrates, the words about having a team of professionals was yet another lie used to sway the public vote in his favor. By switching his ministers and representatives like gloves, Mr. Trump shows a lack of leadership and people skills, which is one of the most important qualities in a politician and a president of a nation as large and multicultural as the US.
Lu, Denise, and Karen Yourish. “The Turnover at the Top of Trump Administration.” The New York Times. 2019, Web.
Young, Neil J. “Why Trump’s Unprecedented Cabinet Turnover Matters.” Huffington Post. 2019, Web.