The new year began as the old year ended – with the establishment up in arms over generals leaving the Trump administration. How would the world survive the departures of John Kelly and James Mattis?
“Today has just been a cascade of what would be generally seen as absolutely apocalyptic news in any other presidency…Let’s start tonight with the resignation of the Secretary of Defense James Mattis,” Rachel Maddow lamented.
“Apocalyptic.” Forget about war or disease or poverty. The apocalypse is when America’s elected president is no longer supervised by the unelected ruling establishment. They even gave it a name – the “Committee to Save America.” It included not just the military’s Mattis and Kelly, but Exxon’s Rex Tillerson and Goldman Sachs’ Gary Cohn.
The Committee to Save America. Have you ever heard anything more smug, more pompous but — most importantly — more anti-democratic? Because it turns out that the Committee to Save America was really the Committee to Save the American Establishment. Its aim was to stop the president from delivering populist election promises.
On trade, Trump promised to “renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal to get a much better one for our workers and our companies.” He also said, “fixing our trade deals will be the foundation of our economic revival.” This is what Americans voted for.
But, as reported by Bob Woodward, James Mattis — yes, Trump’s own defense secretary — plotted to block the president’s trade policy. Woowdward wrote: “Mattis and Cohn agreed. Together they would fight Trump on this…They met for lunch at the Pentagon to develop an action plan…One cause of the problem was the president’s fervent belief that annual trade deficits of about $500 billion harmed the American economy. He was on a crusade to impose tariffs and quotas despite Cohn’s best efforts to educate him about the benefits of free trade. How could they convince, and in their frank view, educate the president?”