I want to highlight two events from yesterday. First James Joyner’s response to the mass resignation of the membership of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:
That’ll teach him. Now he’ll have to pack the commission with people hand-picked by Steve Bannon. https://t.co/1jGxMx780u
— James Joyner (@DrJJoyner) February 17, 2017
And secondly, the decision by Admiral Harward to turn down the National Security Advisor position because he could not bring in his own staff:
If Trump chose keeping KT McFarland over getting Harward…he’s crazier than I thought. Which is saying something. https://t.co/DZNfyNDBtl
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 16, 2017
Both of these moves in isolation make perfect sense. One is because the admiral thought he would not be able to do a job to his personal perception of acceptable competence without his ability to choose his own staff and the other is because clear moral lines were passed.
And the downside is exactly what James outlines. Acts of either professional competence or personal competence where integrity requires disassociation and resignation means the replacement will be far worse. Personal integrity of the competent and well meaning leads to governance by the Brietbart comment section, third raters and grifters. We are getting the Provisional Coalition Authority on the Potomac where Heritage interns are overqualified compared to the other applicants who actively want the job.
For the career civil service folks as well as political appointees who are more conservative than my preference but are fundamentally competent, this is a nasty acid test of their personal beliefs. Are their beliefs better served by remaining for fear of who replaces them, or to leave once a red line is crossed. I don’t know what the right answer is for anyone, I just know that it is an acid test for integrity.