With the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley from Trump's chaotic administration, it is time for supporters of the president to acknowledge the his truly appalling "gut instinct".
Haley joins a long, long list of high profile figures who have jumped ship before the inevitable catastrophe brings the Trump administration down. Haley has clearly recognized for some time now that if she wishes to work again after this nightmarish presidency has come to an end, it was better to go sooner rather than later. The international community's mocking of Trump at the UN last month likely didn't help Haley feel good about her job, but reports indicate she had been planning to leave for at least six month.
By non-Trumpian standards, Haley would have been an awful pick for UN Ambassador. She is a far right ideologue in the neo-conservative mold with little regard for the international community or international law. But by Trumpian standards, Haley was actually a relatively stabilizing force in the Trump administration in that she was tethered to some form of reality. Haley stayed well away from the drama of the White House and voiced independent positions on a number of topics (she believed Trump's sexual assault accusers should have been listened to, for example).
The problem with Haley though, was that she was never going to stay in the administration. If Trump had any semblance of rational thought, he would have understood that Haley was not ideologically aligned with his isolationist "America First" philosophy. In Alt Right circles, Haley is viewed as a "globalist" who wants to sell American workers out and go to war with the Middle East. Haley's world view is about as congruent with Trumpism as Bernie Sanders' world view is. So why did Trump hire her? Because of his famous "instincts" that provide the basis for all his hires.
In Axios today, Jonathan Swan lays out Trump's criteria for hiring in greater detail. "The key is that Trump sees hiring as casting," writes Swann. "So it's clear why Haley became such a high-profile member of his Cabinet — with him praising her yesterday, during her Oval Office departure announcement, for making it "a very glamorous position.""
The president is largely untethered from ideology or policy considerations.
A former senior administration official said Trump "likes picks who will ultimately be well-received on the outside."
He constantly polls people around him, crowd-sourcing from a wide range of people who "may or may not have any expertise, knowledge, or insight into that particular position," said a source close to Trump.
He runs on pure gut instinct — how he feels when he's in a room with somebody, whether he judges them to be loyal.
"He likes people that don’t need him," said a second source close to Trump. "And he likes killers. ... He thought [former lawyer Michael Cohen had been] successful on his own. ... He likes to have leverage over people" — but not if he thinks they're taking advantage of him or getting rich off of him.
People in the "they don't need him" category: former economic adviser Gary Cohn, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (initially), and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (initially).
When coming into office, Trump boasted that he would only hire "the best people". It's a claim he likes to make regularly, believing so strongly in his gut instinct that it has come to be, at least in his mind, an infallible tool for hiring and firing. The problem is, Trump's instincts have been wrong on so many occasions that only the most hardened of his fans can continue to believe in them.
The list of high profile officials who have resigned or been fired from the White House is truly shocking. Most have left on extremely bad terms with the president, and almost none have been heard from again. Trump's hiring instincts are in fact so bad that the people who remain in his administration are actively working against him.
It is worth noting that the gut instinct is now based on credible science. There is a physical connection between our guts and brains made up of neurons and according to scientists Justin Sonnenburg and Erica Sonnenburg, "a highway of chemicals and hormones". So if the gut really is that important when it comes to human decision making, it stands to reason that what you eat could potentially determine what you think.
We'll just leave this here: