I am friends with many of the people who staff the White House and Cabinet. Some have been long-time personal friends. I am friends with eight members of the president’s Cabinet, and that would be friends in the real sense, not the casual acquaintance sense. One of those Cabinet secretaries called me the other night really upset.
I have to admit to finding it all a bit funny. Any casual observer knew this sort of stuff would happen. But my friend the Cabinet secretary, in charge of a large portion of the federal government, is one of several Cabinet secretaries really upset and angry by the president’s war of words against Jeff Sessions. “If he can get treated that way, what about the rest of us?” my friend asked me.
Jefferson Sessions, the attorney general of the United States, is a long-time member of the United States Senate who would have cruised to easy re-election. Instead, he aligned himself with Donald Trump becoming the first federal politician in America to do so. Sessions not only endorsed Trump, but he did so as three of his colleagues were running for the presidency.
Sessions then threw himself into helping Trump develop credible policies. He led a foreign affairs team to hammer out a comprehensive foreign policy. He led an immigration task force to come up with a plan that included a border wall and no amnesty. In hammering out a foreign policy vision, Sessions attended a number of think tank backed conferences and also met with a number of ambassadors, including the Russian ambassador.
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Unbeknownst to Sessions, other members of Trump’s campaign team were having private meetings with Russian spies. Surely they did not know they were meeting with Russian spies, but that does not change the fact that they were. The result was a federal investigation and Sessions, under federal rules, wound up having to recuse himself.
Contrary to what the president now suggests, there was no real certainty of a federal investigation at the time he chose Sessions as attorney general. The federal investigation only expanded toward the president and his family because of a series of unforced errors by the president himself through rage tweeting.
Now the president is angry with Sessions for a recusal no one really saw coming.
As my friend from the Cabinet meant by his question, Sessions is the most loyal member of the president’s cabinet. He was with the president when no one else was. If the president could treat him that way, what about everyone else in the Cabinet?
Many others in the White House are upset, too, because of the loyalty issue. Many of them left very good jobs to serve in this administration. Some of them withstood the barbs of family, friends and colleagues to go work for this president knowing it could have long-term detrimental affects on their future careers because of all the animosity toward the president. Now they realize that this president probably will not have their back as he expects them to have his.
The president’s latest rage tweets against Sessions are that the attorney general has not pursued Hillary Clinton. But on December 11, 2016, then president-elect specifically and publicly said he did not want his attorney general to pursue Clinton. Sessions is now in trouble for following a direct order of the president.
If it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone else who works for the president. That one way loyalty is going to undermine President Trump.
Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.