The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”

Photo by edward stojakovic | CC BY 2.0

The leading myth of the mainstream media over the past year has been the idea that there were “adults in the room” in the Oval Office of the White House.  These so-called adults were for the most part general officers, both active duty and retired, who were going to restrain the excesses of Donald Trump by providing moderate and authoritative advice that he couldn’t get anywhere else.

Thus far, we have witnessed two Army generals who have served as the national security adviser, and two Marine generals who have served as Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Defense, and even chief of staff to the president.  The past two weeks have been two of the most immoderate weeks in the brief history of the Trump administration, demonstrating that the adults are either AWOL (Absent without Leave) or unable to broadcast on Trump’s frequency.

It was fatuous to assume that general officers could provide the kind of support that such an inexperienced president required.  The example of Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State George C. Marshall in the Truman administration was singular because he was an unusual soldier-statesman.  The examples of Generals Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell are not particularly useful because they had high-level civilian mentors such as Henry A. Kissinger, Frank Carlucci, and James Baker.  Generals H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, Michael Flynn, and James Mattis lacked civilian guidance in the White…

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