President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday night to fire another member of his administration — this time, Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs David Shulkin. The move is the latest in an all-too-familiar cycle for the Trump administration: lie, fire, repeat.
Just two days before Trump made public his decision to appoint his personal doctor to run the agency he had once promised would “be fixed – fast,” his administration falsely claimed that no dismissal was imminent and that Shulkin enjoyed Trump’s “confidence.” Although multiple administration sources had — accurately — told the press that Shulkin was about to be removed, Trump spokesman Hogan Gidley poo-pooed the reporting, telling Fox News “we hear these types of rumors every day.”
This fits a pattern the administration has shown time and again when it comes to personnel. Trump, who as a candidate vowed to pick only “the best people” for his administration, has seen record turnover and often fired his own appointees after less than 15 months on the job. And frequently, he and his staff have lied to the American people just before doing so, often claiming accurate reporting on the moves is “fake news.”
- National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster “resigned“/was fired last week. Seven days before, Trump had called reports that he would do this “very false.” His press secretary also implied that McMaster was not about to be replaced.
Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster – contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 16, 2018
- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired, via tweet, two weeks ago. Though Trump said that he and Tillerson had “been talking about this for a long time,” just three months before he called such claims “FAKE NEWS.”
The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!https://t.co/FrqiPLFJ1E
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 1, 2017
- White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was pushed out last July. A day earlier, Sanders had told the reporters of Priebus, “We all serve at the pleasure of the president, and if he gets to a place where that isn’t the case, he’ll let you know.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) had also claimed that Priebus was “doing a fantastic job at the White House and I believe he has the president’s confidence.”
- National Security Adviser Mike Flynn was forced to resign in February 2017, after just days on the job. Only a day earlier, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway had told the public that Flynn had Trump’s “full confidence.”
On Sunday, Trump used his regular “fake news” line to dismiss accurate reports that top lawyers are reluctant to take on Trump as a client. Given the way he treated his former employees, it’s not hard to imagine why “the best people” might be hesitant to work for Trump or his administration.