So much has been made of that fact that a guy with a history of racist, sexist, and anti-semitic statements is going to be chief of staff. And that a former CEO of Goldman Sachs could be treasury secretary. I may be a hopeless optimist, but I think these concerns are overblown.
Trump has taught us at least two things about himself. One, he changes his mind often, and two, he loves to fire people. Wasn’t, “you’re fired,” his catchphrase for awhile? He went through three campaign managers. For those who feel a soul-crushing despair at the idea of a Trump presidency his picks just confirm what we already know about him. That he’s a racist, sexist joke of a human being. But his history doesn’t exactly support that. It doesn’t completely rule it out either.
So I can see two possibilities with Trump’s current round of picks. One is that he is exactly as horrible as his opponents have been saying and that this is simply the first step on his way to building a new Reich. Another is that he is trying out people who were loyal to him, and he will discard them at the first sign they do something wrong. As best I can tell, loyalty is the single biggest character trait in his hires. The second biggest is how well they will serve him. If any of his picks miss either trait, then he won’t hesitate to fire them.
I don’t believe Trump is stupid. Whatever else he is, I doubt he’s an idiot. He has to know that more than half the country views him as a Hiter-wannabee. If he were being clever, then he should be looking for opportunities to change their minds. I can think of worse ways than to hire people, or at least talk about hiring people, that many hate, in order to fire them. All he would have to do is say he gave them a chance but they screwed up something important. That way, he would have cover with his KKK base of supporters, and he would gain credibility with those who skip the cross burnings. It would be completely in character for him.