Asked why President Trump keeps hiring officials he later fires, insults and demeans, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that Trump simply strives to build a “team of rivals” in the mold of Abraham Lincoln.
.@PeterAlexander: "Why does the president keep hiring people who are dumb as a rock, overrated, way over their heads, whacko and incompetent?"@PressSec: "…he likes the model of having a Team of Rivals, like with what we saw in President Lincoln's administration." pic.twitter.com/BPKXqKukWY
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 19, 2020
“He likes the model of having a team of rivals,” McEnany told reporters at a press briefing, comparing the style of debate in Trump’s White House to the model of Lincoln’s administration.
The press secretary’s comments came as reporters questioned Trump’s tendency to dismiss the merits of any criticism leveled against him by former officials who had the opportunity to observe and work closely with him.
“The president makes hiring decisions based on the fact that he likes to have countervailing viewpoints,” McEnany said.
“Why hire rivals that are ‘dumb as a rock, overrated, way over their heads, wacko, and incompetent’?” NBC reporter Peter Alexander asked.
“Sometimes those rivals prove those labels to be true, and that’s particularly true in the case of John Bolton, who repeatedly praised the president and then turned,” McEnany said.
McEnany’s seething remarks condemning ex- National Security Adviser John Bolton are in line with those made earlier by Trump and other members of his inner circle, who have launched repeated attacks on Bolton after the former official described the president in unflattering terms. Bolton referred to the president as both self-serving and unfit for the job in media appearances ahead of the release of his tell-all book that the the White House says contains classified information.