One interesting aspect of Trump’s presidency will be observing the punishments meted out to the high-profile members of his administration after leaving office. This is unprecedented for the Beltway, where consensus prevails and sinecures abound. The MSM has been clamoring for nearly 2 years that they should face consequences and become pariahs. Calls for permanent retribution are now quite common. Jennifer Rubin, the hideous WaPo columnist, led the charge:
Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin: Sarah Huckabee Sanders should be harassed publicly as a 'life sentence.' pic.twitter.com/HCWMxnulne
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 3, 2018
However, most so far haven’t been terribly punishable. Bannon, the most reviled of Trump’s departures, is independently wealthy. He’s also the only one who actually tried to rock the boat. With everything that’s transpired since, getting the boot ultimately served to bolster his credibility. The next to go, Tillerson, is in his seventies and also quite rich. Likewise for Sessions, who has 20 years in the Senate and a similar stint as a US Attorney. It’s safe to say he’s receiving a hefty pension from Uncle Sam. Mattis is a consummate servant of the Establishment and a retired 4-star general. None of these guys need to worry about money.
This brings us to the newly-defenestrated Kirstjen Neilsen. At age 46 with no conspicuous independent income and without a spouse, she’s in quite a different league. She’ll be the first one who can truly be made into a visible example, because she really needs a job. Everyone who wants to see her suffer is well aware of this vulnerability.
There’s evidence she’s been cognizant of the impending revenge for quite some time, which is why she abstained from resigning until forced, despite clearly not wanting to do her job:
People close to her say one reason – perhaps not only one – is that she was aware how awful life would/will be for her on the outside after defending his policies for a long tome. https://t.co/XghCBWhNNw
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 8, 2019
Here’s a giddy Michelle Goldberg elaborating on Neilsen’s plight in the NYT:
“What happens to Nielsen now can serve as an example to other people in the administration as they decide whether to just follow orders. By this, I don’t mean that people should scream at Nielsen in restaurants. Rather, those horrified by family separation should do whatever they can to deny Nielsen the sort of cushy corporate landing or prestigious academic appointment once customary for ex-administration officials. The fact that she evidently didn’t go as far as an erratic and out-of-control Trump wanted is immaterial; she should be a pariah for going as far as she did.”
There’s a broad effort now underway. A push is being made by a coalition of groups (including the SPLC) under the banner “Restore Public Trust” to ban dozens of officials from future corporate employment. A group of academics is also pushing to make sure she finds no haven in their field. Companies lurking in the swamp of federal contractors, who’d normally be eager for someone of her stature, will be extremely reticent to use her as a face. This is usually how former cabinet secretaries collect big paydays. The best course of action would be selling her advice in a non-public capacity. Although, that’s probably of no real value.
We're carrying a simple message in today's @nytimes:
Corporate America should not allow administration officials responsible for Trump's family separation policy to seek refuge in their corner offices or boardrooms.#FamiliesBelongTogetherhttps://t.co/J0CZcUpklk pic.twitter.com/KMveqNPb52
— Restore Public Trust (@RestoreTrustOrg) April 7, 2019
Suffice it to say that Nielsen has quite a (((challenge))) in securing future employment. Her situation is exacerbated by the fact that’s she’s reviled by the other side for being so ditzy in her duties as DHS Secretary. Having a horde of powerful enemies but no true allies can’t be fun. It’s also a fate she earned.
Much of the campaign against her is motivated by a desire to cut off the administration from competent personnel, and yet she clearly doesn’t belong in that category. This is part of a broader pattern of overkill since Trump has already capitulated on most issues of importance. Will any of this backfire? Probably, but the extent is unclear for the moment.