by Robert Reich
CA.) -- “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Trump
told then FBI
Director James Comey in January – even though FBI directors are
supposed to be
independent of a president, and Comey was only 4 years into a 10 year
testified before the Senate that Trump tried to “create some sort of
relationship,” based on personal loyalty.
Comey refused and continued to investigate possible connections between
Trump campaign and Russian operatives, Trump fired him.
Bharara, who had been the United States Attorney for the Southern
New York, said Trump tried to create the same sort of patronage
with him that he did with Comey.
office had been investigating Trump’s secretary of health and human
Tom Price, and also looking into Russian money-laundering allegations against
Deutsche Bank, Trump’s principal private lender.
Bharara didn’t play along, Trump fired him.
said Comey’s testimony “felt
a little bit like déjà vu.”
his first and best-known book, “The Art of the
distinguished between integrity and loyalty – and made clear he preferred
compared attorney Roy Cohn – Senator Joe McCarthy’s attack dog who
Trump’s mentor – to “all the hundreds of ‘respectable’ guys who make
out of boasting about their uncompromising integrity but have
loyalty … What I liked most about Roy Cohn was that he would do just
president, Trump continues to prefer loyalty over integrity.
most of his Cabinet still don’t have top deputies in place, the White
installed senior aides to monitor their loyalty. As Barry Bennett, a
Trump campaign adviser, explained
to the Washington Post, “they’re functioning as the White
House’s voice and
ears in these departments.”
Monday, the White House invited reporters in to watch what was billed
meeting of Trump’s Cabinet. After Trump spoke, he asked each of the
members around the table to briefly comment.
statements were what you might expect from toadies surrounding a
thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda,” said
Staff Reince Priebus. “Greatest privilege of my life, to serve as vice
president to a president who’s keeping his word to the American
Vice President Mike Pence. “You’ve set the exact right message,” said
General Jeff Sessions, adding, “The response is fabulous around the
I was sworn in as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, I took an oath to
and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
and domestic.” I didn’t pledge loyalty to Bill Clinton, and I
have participated in such a fawning display.
oath is a pledge of loyalty to our system of government – not to a
individual. It puts integrity before personal loyalty. It’s what it
have a government of laws.
Trump has filled his administration with people more loyal to him than
top advisers are his daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law, Jared
run his legal defense and be his spokesman on the investigation into
with Russian operatives, Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz.
is not an expert in criminal or constitutional law. His only apparent
qualification is his utter loyal to Trump.
been Trump’s personal legal fixer for almost two decades –
him in his failed
libel lawsuit against a journalist, the Trump
University fraud case
that ended in January with a $25 million settlement from Trump, and
Trump’s response to
allegations of sexual assault by multiple women last year.
called the New York Times article containing interviews with the women “per
se libel” and demanded “a full and immediate retraction and
the Times refused).
has said he played a central role in the firing of Preet Bharara.
Trump, “This guy is going to get you,” according to a person familiar
Kasowitz is taking on a public role. Bypassing the White House Counsel,
instructed White House aides to discuss the investigation as little as
possible, and advised them about whether they should hire private
horrifying reality is that in Trumpworld, there is no real “public”
all about protecting and benefiting Trump.
loyalty trumps integrity, we no longer have a government of laws. We
government by and for Trump.
B. REICH is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the
California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for
served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and Time
named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th
Reich has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The
Nations, Beyond Outrage and most recently Saving Capitalism.
also a founding editor of The American
Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member