There's a good article at Red State, commenting on Bob Woodward's claim that James Mattis Contemplated Going “Seven Days in May” On President Trump. The thrust of the article is that, while Woodward's general narrative is "imminently [sic] believable," it contains some improbable details. For example, Mattis is said to have retired to Washington National Cathedral to pray, whereas is Mattis is reported to be Catholic. I'm agnostic on that. The author's larger point, however is that Woodward's narrative is Dan Coats' payback to Trump for his own richly deserved firing.
Beyond the who struck John stuff, however, the author offers some interesting commentary, about Trump and the Deep State. After running through the background--an excellent read, by the way--he reflects on Trump's entry to DC life:
Trump ran as a legitimate outsider. Lots of guys run as an outsider, but virtually none of them are. It is all kabuki for the rubes in the cheap seats. When they are elected, they are surrounded by the same old faces we’ve seen in a half-dozen other administrations. When Trump was elected, it was despite the best efforts of the GOP establishment to defeat him in the primary and sandbag him in the general. He was faced with unremitting hostility, and he had no band of loyalists with whom to fill the vacant policy positions in the administration. This forced him to fall back on hiring resumes. Mattis had a great reputation; Trump was enamored with generals. Tillerson had run a highly successful multinational corporation, and Trump liked that. He did reward early supporters, which is how Jeff Sessions ended up as a weak-sister Attorney General when a wartime consigliere was desperately needed.
With key policy posts held by people who were not only personally disloyal to Trump but who opposed his policies at every step, he was hamstrung, and the fact that he managed to accomplish anything at all is a miracle.
Assuming this story is true, it paints a shameful picture of Jim Mattis. He’s not the legendary “warrior monk,” he’s a disloyal and duplicitous man who took a job from a man he had no intention of serving to the best of his ability and then proceeded to sabotage him behind the scenes. Not a good look at all.
But who ever thought hardly anyone scrambles to the top of the heap in DC by being an honorable person?
Still, this leaves me wondering, as before: Who was it who set Trump up with a pretty solid White House Counsel office? They've served him pretty well and loyally, through thick and thin. Surely that didn't happen by accident. Whoever it was, they did Trump and the nation a major favor and prepared the way for Bill Barr's entry into the lists. Because I think Barr is plenty smart enough that he would never have taken the AG job without the knowledge that he had some significant allies.