At this point, we are all aware that the president’s deepest love is overstepping his Constitutional powers in any and all ways possible (and also, racism). But, whatever, the world is burning etc., here’s one more: apparently, Trump offered former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly the position of FBI director, but only if he pledged complete loyalty. As we know, quid pro quo is Trump’s thing.
Axios reports that New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt revealed this particular request in his new book, Donald Trump v. The United States. Apparently, Trump offered Kelly the job in 2017, the day after he fired then-FBI director James Comey. The catch? Kelly “needed to be loyal to him, and only him.”
Kelly turned Trump down, allegedly claiming “he would be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law, but he refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump.” (Granted, Kelly served as Chief of Staff, a job that required him to essentially pledge loyalty to Trump, but did so without those pesky Constitutional separation of powers). As a reminder, Trump also asked Comey to pledge loyalty to him, which he also refused to do.
More, per Axios:
Schmidt reports that “throughout Kelly’s time working directly with Trump, Kelly was repeatedly struck by how Trump failed to understand how those who worked for him — like Kelly and other top former generals — had interest in being loyal not to him, but to the institutions of American democracy.”
“Kelly has said that having to say no to Trump was like ‘French kissing a chainsaw.’”
Anyway, the crux of this story is that according to Kelly, Trump “wanted to behave like an authoritarian,” which isn’t surprising in any way, but still a troubling thing to remember now that we’re only a few months out from an election that may or may not spell the end of democracy as we know it, NBD!!!!!!