On becoming president Donald Trump boasted that he only hired the best people.
It was a claim that played into his preferred self-image of a business titan, delegating the running of his many big-money projects to shrewdly chosen managers who could be relied on to make the right calls.
But the subsequent two and a half years have called that boast into question, and very often from an unlikely source – Mr Trump himself.
Not only has there been a frantic turnover of senior staff, but some of the most withering condemnation of their talents has come from the very person who put them in post.
Here’s what Donald Trump has said about some of his top appointments:
Anthony Scaramucci (communications director)
“Anthony Scaramucci is a highly unstable “nut job” who was with other candidates in the primary who got shellacked, then unfortunately wheedled his way into my campaign. I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a fool of himself, bad on TV. Abused staff,…
….got fired. Wrote a very nice book about me just recently. Now the book is a lie? Said his wife was driving him crazy, “something big” was happening with her. Getting divorced. He was a mental wreck. We didn’t want him around. Now Fake News puts him on like he was my buddy!”
Fired July 2017
Rex Tillerson (secretary of state)
“Rex Tillerson, a man who is ‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State, made up a story (he got fired) that I was out-prepared by Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Hamburg, Germany. I don’t think Putin would agree. Look how the U.S. is doing!”
Fired March 2018
Jerome Powell (chairman of the Federal Reserve)
“This guy made a big mistake. The head of the Fed — another beauty I chose!”
Still in post
Steve Bannon (chief strategist)
“Michael Wolff is a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book. He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job. Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone. Too bad!”
Fired August 2017
Omarosa Manigault Newman (assistant to the president)
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
Fired January 2018
Jeff Sessions (attorney general)
“I’m so sad over Jeff Sessions because he came to me. He was the first senator that endorsed me. And he wanted to be attorney general, and I didn’t see it.
“And then he went through the nominating process and he did very poorly. I mean, he was mixed up and confused, and people that worked with him for, you know, a long time in the Senate were not nice to him, but he was giving very confusing answers. Answers that should have been easily answered. And that was a rough time for him.”
Resigned at president’s request November 2018
Donald McGahn (White House counsel)
I was NOT going to fire Bob Mueller, and did not fire Bob Mueller. In fact, he was allowed to finish his Report with unprecedented help from the Trump Administration. Actually, lawyer Don McGahn had a much better chance of being fired than Mueller. Never a big fan! – never a big fan.
Fired October 2018
Gary Cohn (chief economic adviser)
“Gary Cohn, I could tell stories about him like you wouldn’t believe.”
Resigned March 2018