By the Company He Keeps

If a man is known by the company he keeps, then Donald Trump is a conscience-free pivoting prevaricator.

If a man is known by the company he keeps, then Donald Trump is a conscience-free pivoting prevaricator. Not that his own words and deeds don’t condemn him as a morally-bankrupt liar and cheat but if there was any doubt about the matter, his coterie of clowns seals the deal.

Take Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the lemon-sucking Trump mouthpiece who purports to be the White House press secretary. She is shameless in her dissembling and lying while at the same time seeming to take great joy in demeaning and belittling the captive press corps.

company he keeps, Kellyanne Conway
Image by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Untruths roll off her tongue with such ease that it’s almost possible to believe that what she says bears some resemblance to the truth. Like her father, Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, Sanders purports to be a conservative Christian but sadly lacks his charm and grace which could help hide her hypocrisy.

Sanders is skilled at her job of massaging the truth but she can’t hold a candle to presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway. The Queen of the Pivot manages to not just stretch the truth but oftentimes outright destroy it.

The creator of “alternative facts” and the “Bowling Green massacre”, Trump’s unctuous underling never skips a beat when confronted with uncomfortable facts. Conway has the highest rpm rating of any Washington spin doctor and is never at a loss for a falsehood or a pivot.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner represents all that is wrong with his administration. The young failed real estate mogul has virtually no experience in government yet has been tasked with almost everything including negotiating peace in the Middle East, solving the opioid crisis, reforming the criminal justice system, conducting diplomatic relations with China and Mexico and reinventing the entire federal bureaucracy.

Trump’s senior advisor reflects Trump’s view of the world: you don’t have to have any experience or know much of anything, in fact, to run the government. Governing by gut is the President’s axiom and Kushner is its embodiment in the flesh.

The First Daughter, Ivanka Trump, is yet another reflection of her father. As with any autocracy or crime syndicate, Trump family members rule at the top regardless of their lack of experience. From the beginning, Ivanka has sat in on high-level meetings with all manner of world leaders notwithstanding her complete lack of qualifications.

Make no mistake; Ivanka is as divorced from the truth as the rest of the inner circle. It’s just that her poise, charm and beauty blind many to what should be her obvious mendacity and hypocrisy.

The sepulchral Stephen Miller is another frightening reflection of the boss. As the architect of the Muslim ban and the family separation policy at the Mexican border, Miller is Trump’s administrative id: a way for him to indirectly invoke his worst instincts.

Anthony Scaramucci perhaps best personifies the Trump Administration. The profane, loud-mouthed communications director was brought in on a whim by Trump because he felt comfortable with his “New Yawk” brand of operating. His six-day tenure exposed the fallacy of governing by whim but failed to stop the trend.

Looking beyond Trump’s closest advisors, we have a Cabinet almost devoid of competence and ability. Rhyme off names like Betsy “School Guns” DeVos, Tom “Jetman” Price, Mike “Russkie” Flynn, Scott “Soundproof Booth” Pruitt and Wilbur “Payday Loan” Ross  and sadly you get a fair idea of what Donald Trump now meant when he said he’d “surround [himself] with the best and most serious people.”

The right-wing punditocracy and the talking heads at Fox News love to revile President Obama and his administration. Say what you will about Obama, however, he surrounded himself with experienced and capable advisors who comprised, in the view of most, a reflection of the man’s own abilities. Sadly, the reflection we currently see in the White House is devoid of ability, civility and morality.

David Martin
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