White House aide says Trump hired all the right people, even the ones he fired

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent

In February, President Trump fired his national security adviser, Mike Flynn, after just a few weeks on the job. Flynn was subsequently indicted and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is gone too. After less than a year in office, the president is on his fourth communications director and his second chief of staff. A controversy over taxpayer-funded private air travel forced Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to resign. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is regularly reported to be on the point of resigning or being fired.

At a year-end briefing to sell reporters on the administration’s achievements in 2017, a top aide denied that Trump had made any hiring mistakes.

“No, the president didn’t make a mistake. Why would you think that?” said the adviser, who was speaking at a question-and-answer session organized on the condition that speakers not be identified. “You have to give me a little bit of specificity,” the aide continued, clearly put off by the question. The news media, the aide suggested, worries more about the “finer points of palace intrigue than the finer points of policy sometimes.”

“We have a really good team here, and we have a team that is very well-managed by the chief of staff,” the aide said.

As the briefing wrapped up, the adviser circled back to take another crack at the question, and to assure reporters — still anonymously — that Trump loves the United States.

“Donald Trump is a very trusting leader and manager who thinks that people would want to serve the public and serve this great country for the right reasons,” the aide said. “And I don’t think that makes him any different than every president that served that loved their country.”

As Trump wraps up his first year at the White House, the aide said, “We’re in a good place, at the moment.”

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