Like a boss: Trump seeks out and listens to the military's little guys
Want to know what leadership is? Here's some real leadership, according to a report in American Military News:
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has been meeting with enlisted troops to get a better understanding of how they feel the war in Afghanistan has been progressing.
Trump did not want to meet with higher ranking officers, instead choosing to meet with enlisted troops to get a more candid assessment of the America’s longest-running war, Business Insider reported.“I want to sit down with some enlisted guys that have been there,” Trump reportedly told advisers, according to Peter Bergen, author of “Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos.”“I don’t want any generals in here. I don’t want any officers,” he added.
Enlisted members of the military may have been seen as better able to critique the war effort as their roles tend to place them closer to combat and the consequences of a command. Enlisted members are also less concerned with the day-to-day politics that might affect higher ranking officers.
Now, based on the title of the book in question, and I haven't read it, it sounds like the writer of this anecdote was clutching his pearls and forecasting disaster from this practice.
But this response, from slightly #neverTrump editor Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner, was just right:
Literally the most encouraging story I have heard about Trump as president. https://t.co/qDrIUmGCU4— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) December 28, 2019
It's a very smart way of learning how a war is really going, cutting out the swamp middlemen. It's also unconventional. Imagine one of the perfumed princes of the "foreign policy establishment" or one of the flattering courtiers of the Pentagon doing such a thing. Heck, imagine a social-climbing dweeb like Eric Ciaramella doing it. Wouldn't happen. What Trump is doing is, dare we say it, gathering intelligence, the kind that creeps like Ciaramella are incapable of giving. Knowledge is power.
Yet it's perfectly in character. Trump has always been a fan of the little guy. For all his insults thrown in politics, what you notice is that he never directs any of his ferocity at little guys. Leftists get it. Political opponents get it. Hollywood figures he dislikes really get it. The mainstream press gets it. But he's never going to get caught saying 'deplorables' or whinging as Mitt Romney did about the hopeless "47%." Remember the humble, homely Colombian woman who brought him a magazine at a rally in 2015? Trump called her "totally beautiful and great." That's what the little guys get with Trump, who in particular made his views about enlisted servicemen and women known when he pardoned several for minor offenses even as the hierarchy howled, and then gave his defiant Navy secretary his well-placed boot. Elites get it, little guys don't. And zero surprises, it's the little guys on the bottom rungs who have benefited most from President Trump's soaring economy.
Trump himself reportedly likened his approach to something from his hospitality industry days, in that he was taking the word of an on-the-ground dishwasher or waiter over an expensive restaurant consultant as a means to getting to real problems within establishments. It's practical, effective means of cutting through the baloney and getting to the real roots of problems in order to learn what makes an establishment tick. It's also very him. I still think this description of Trump as hotel manager and that being the key to understanding him, written by Robert Weissberg, is the most useful thing ever written about him.
It ultimately points to Trump being all about effectiveness, and a brilliant leader, actually. And the flip side is that it calls into question just what use the perfumed princes of the Washington establishment really are in contrast. What value do they add, given that they never listen to the little guys -- and President Trump does? It's high time that Trump actually got some credit for it.
Image credit: Photo illustration by Monica Showalter from public domain sources