Tag Archives: trump and lawyers

Good Help Can be Hard to Find…

…when you’re Donald Trump.

Putting aside the ridiculous manner in which he’s attempting to run the country, he gives every sign of being a terrible boss.  He doesn’t listen to the advice of people who know more than him about certain things – mostly because he doesn’t believe ANYONE knows more than him about ANYTHING; he doesn’t read and has a short attention span, which makes it difficult to convey information to him; he’s suspicious of those around him who receive public attention for their ability or administration-related achievements and almost instantly seeks to undermine such people; and he has an unusual, unjustified degree of confidence in the ability and judgment of his adult children and their spouses.

When he ran for president he told us he would surround himself with the very best people – the very best people, really, absolutely fantastic people.  He hasn’t.  Some of the people he put in important jobs are, arguably, among the best and brightest (Gary Cohn, the former National Economic Council director who resigned when Trump didn’t take seriously his warning that tariffs would be a disaster); most decidedly are not (Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt, anyone?); and others, like former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, are people of accomplishment in other areas of endeavor who are in no way qualified for the jobs to which he appointed them.

Beavis and Butthead here are Trump’s idea of good lawyers

Even before he was elected, The Curmudgeon read that Trump was especially litigious but that his reputation was that he didn’t hire very good lawyers to conduct all that litigation.  Exhibit A is Michael Cohen and Exhibit B is (bat shit crazy) Rudy Giuliani.  Exhibit C is the great difficulty he’s had finding someone to represent his legal interests in the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.  Again, it’s not hard to understand why:  even when Trump hires people who know things he doesn’t he’s not going to take their advice much of the time.  People who are at the top of their field and who can choose for whom they work are not going to choose to work for someone like Trump.  The icing on the cake of disinclination to work for him is his reputation for stiffing people when they present bills for the services they have provided to him.

The Curmudgeon got to thinking about this recently when he read a New York Timesarticle about White House counsel Don McGahn’s extensive interviews with special counsel Mueller’s staff.  The article offered a little background information about McGahn, noting where he had worked prior to taking his current job and mentioning that he had attended the Widener University Commonwealth Law School and that Trump had at first been hesitant about hiring McGahn because he wanted someone from a top law school.

To suggest that Widener is not a top law school is an understatement.  It’s not.

To suggest Widener is even a decent law school is an overstatement.  It’s not.

In fact, in the greater Philadelphia area, where there are six law schools – Widener as well as Penn, Villanova, Temple, Rutgers, and Drexel – you would be hard-pressed to find even a single person who would rate Widener as anything other than sixth among them.  It’s not a very good school and many of its graduates are just plain mediocre.

That doesn’t mean they’re all mediocre and it certainly doesn’t mean McGahn is mediocre.  Without question, people reach a point in their professional lives where their ability and their accomplishments say more about them than their credentials – after all, when was the last time someone asked you what you scored on your SATs? – but still, the idea that the president of the United States, who should pretty much have his pick of the litter when it comes to selecting his White House counsel, ended up choosing the runt of the litter says a lot more about Donald Trump than it does about Don McGahn.  (Who, incidentally, was shown the door a week after Trump learned of his little chats with Mueller’s team.  For once, though, Trump did it nicely:  it was announced that McGahn would be leaving his job before the end of the year, although that departure is clearly not voluntarily.)