Opinion Latest

Former public servants send a strong message

Former public servants send a strong message

We folks over 70 often make mistakes — forgetting and confusing names, places, dates. So when Joe Biden mistook President Sisi of Egypt as the president of Mexico I didn’t worry too much about it. Woops! 

And recently, when Donald Trump praised Victor Orban as the president of Turkey, I figured maybe Mr. Trump was hungry at that moment (Orban is the president of Hungary, not Turkey, haha). Mr. Trump criticized Nikki Haley for her poor management of security during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. He was confusing her with Nancy Pelosi, who was speaker of the House. Nikki Haley had nothing to do with security on Jan. 6

I don’t get too worked up about these memory slip-ups. But what I do get worked up about are the reactions to Donald Trump’s personal values and his competency as revealed by the words of many of the highest-ranking members of his own administration. These people were chosen by him to be in positions of great responsibility in government and military. Mr. Trump always boasts about having “the best people,” and “knowing more than anyone” how to run a company or a government. Let’s see what a few of these leading Trump appointees had to say about him after he fired them or after they resigned.

Bill Barr, former Attorney General: “The fact of the matter is he is a consummate narcissist and he constantly engages in reckless conduct … He will always put his own interest and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interest …”

John Kelly, former Chief of White House Staff and four-star Marine Corps general: “A person who admires autocrats and murderous dictators. A person who has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution and the rule of law.”

By the way, Donald Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery with Gen. Kelly on Memorial Day 2017 to visit the grave of Kelly’s son Robert, killed in Afghanistan. Trump’s comment: “I don’t get it. What’s in it for them?”

Related Items

James Mathis, former Secretary of Defense and Marine Corps four star general: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.”

Gen. Mark Milley, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen. Or to a tyrant or a dictator. And we don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator.”

Donald Trump suggested that Milley should be executed! Trump also told Milley not to allow wounded soldiers and veterans at public events: “No one wants to see that.”

And let us remember his disrespect for then-Sen. John McCain, tortured in the “Hanoi Hilton” during the Vietnam War. McCain could have been released before others but felt it was not honorable to jump the line just because his father was the 7th Fleet commander, and the Communists wanted a publicity stunt. Trump mocked him for being called a hero ‘just because he was caught. I like people who didn’t get caught.”

Trump himself once declared “My own personal Vietnam” was not getting venereal disease in New York night clubs. “I feel like a great and very brave soldier.” Incredible.

Perhaps all those former Trump appointees are secretly plotting together in some dark basement. All part of a “deep state” conspiracy. Or maybe these are dedicated public servants who are desperately trying to warn us.

(Steve Wall was a pediatrician for decades in Haywood County. He’s now retired. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.