Donald Trump Has Forgotten How to Fire People
Policy + Politics

Donald Trump Has Forgotten How to Fire People

REUTERS/Jupiter Police Department/Handout via Reuters

Donald Trump spent more than a decade headlining his hit reality television show, The Apprentice, and on virtually every episode of every season, the climactic moment came when the billionaire real estate mogul gathered his hopeful contestants in a room and ritually fired one of them.

Trump did it with style, too. He developed a signature hand gesture, “the cobra,” a sharp four-fingered jab at the object of his contempt that usually accompanied the abrupt dismissal, “You’re fired.”

Related: Ex-Trump Insider – Donald Doesn’t Want to Be President

But in his current role as frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump appears to have allowed his trademark skill to atrophy. Because, let’s face it, he is surrounded by people who need firing in the worst way.

You're Fired

He has a spokesperson whose list of lies, misrepresentations and blunders rivals his own. Yet she is still put in front of the cameras to represent the campaign.

He has an attorney on staff who insisted that it was legally impossible for a husband to rape his wife. That man still has a job and, apparently, a law license.

Most plainly in need of the Trump cobra, though, is campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was arrested Tuesday morning in Florida and charged with simple battery for grabbing a reporter and yanking her out of his way after a Trump press conference earlier this month.

Video evidence released by the Jupiter, FL police Department today makes it pretty clear that what former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields claimed after the event was true: that she had been grabbed and pulled out of the way by Lewandowski, leaving her bruised and shaken.

Related: How Trump Got Outfoxed by Cruz in Louisiana

But after she made her original allegation, Lewandowski, with the backing of the Trump campaign organization, began an all-out assault on her credibility and reputation: 


Today’s report of his arrest and the filing of a battery charge make it plain that Lewandowski lied about the incident. In any normal campaign, a senior official accused of assaulting a reporter would be jettisoned immediately – particularly after attempting to smear the reporter’s reputation while lying about his own actions.

But the Trump campaign quickly closed ranks around Lewandowski. An official press release claimed that he was “absolutely innocent.” Spokesperson Katrina Pierson went on CNN and declared that even if he were convicted, the campaign would still keep him on.

Trump got in on the act personally, using Twitter to claim that the video tape, which plainly shows Lewandowski grabbing Fields, actually shows nothing of the sort.

Then, Trump suggested that maybe he ought to file a complaint against Fields himself, for asking him questions after a press conference was over.

Defending the indefensible has become commonplace for the Trump campaign, but why the GOP frontrunner would continue backing a staffer after video evidence emerged showing him assaulting a journalist is puzzling.

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Maybe the explanation is that Trump was actually a much better actor while he was on TV than anybody gave him credit for. Because he doesn’t look like a guy who knows how to fire someone in real life.