In the runup to the 2016 election, candidate Donald J. Trump proposed, if elected, to run government “like a business.” As President, he has largely done just that.
The Republican Party has become in effect his board of directors; a fawning “base,” his shareholders. As President, Trump hires and fires appointees like a CEO, demanding unfailing personal loyalty. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation in accordance with established conflict of interest rules, Trump forced him to resign.
More like a corporate CEO than an elected head of state, Trump rules by tweets and executive order. With a closed circle of ideologue advisors, he decrees without regard to institutional limits and regularly threatens “enemies of the people”—his term for the media.
Former business executives dominate the President’s cabinet. They often abolish regulations that impose environmental or other limits on their actions. When there is a choice, they prefer to hire private firms rather than rely on government agencies to deliver public services. Secretary of Education DeVos, for example, promotes private charter schools at the expense of public education.
An expanding reliance on private companies to manage federal prisons and immigrant detention centers has led to a skimping of services. Corporate responsibilities run more to shareholders than to the prison inmates they serve or the…