(Editor’s note: The following is the second of a three-part series featuring the insights of Patrick J. Buchanan. The first part focused on how the media is treating President Trump and “draining the swamp.” In this part, Buchanan discusses Trump’s unique position as an outsider, and what changes he would make if he was named Trump’s Chief of Staff.)
From his unique perspective as an inside-the-beltway player who simultaneously rejects conventional political wisdom, Patrick J. Buchanan is ideally suited to judging whether President Donald J. Trump can effect the kind of dramatic change anticipated by voters who took the bold step of electing him to the most powerful position in the world.
Having served at the highest levels of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, and then as an insurgent, populist presidential candidate, Mr. Buchanan joined us on Liberty Nation Radio and discussed Trump’s unique position as an outsider, and what changes he would make if he was handed control of the Trump White House,
LN: It’s been said that perhaps the most attractive and unique asset that Trump brings to Washington, is that he owes nothing to anyone except the voters. He’s not owned by all the special interests like the career politicians. But the corollary to that is that nobody owes Trump anything, either. Can he overcome the politicians, including Republicans like John McCain and the permanent Washington bureaucracy, which seems united in opposition to him at all costs?
Mr. Buchanan: I believe he can. Now, let’s take McCain. I think McCain, he was the candidate in 2008, but he is now, in terms of foreign policy, wants to get us involved everywhere. We are all Georgians now (referring to Russia’s invasion of the republic of Georgia), confront the Russians and get back deeply in the Middle East and all the rest of it.
He’s an outlier, I don’t think he speaks for the party. And I think part of the party is with Trump and part of it has looked at what Trump has accomplished and has fallen silent and is willing to work with him. But again, when I say Trump is the indispensable man, no one that I see around him except some of the trade people over at commerce and elsewhere, and some other White House folks…very few folks that are with him, are really coming solemnly committed to his agenda, to the specific Trump issues that are different from regular, modern conservative Republican issues.
So he’s really going to have to drive this, and he’s gonna have to bear down and work hard to get his program and his ideas through, because the natural tendency of this city is inertia, to continue moving in the direction in which it’s been moving. What is it, Newton’s law? Unless it meets a superior force, it’s going to keep going that way.
LN: All right now, put yourself back in the White House for a moment, Pat, if you would. Let’s make you chief of staff for President Trump. What changes in both form and function would you recommend to this president?
Mr. Buchanan: Well, I think, first you have the problem of the staff, the morale is probably down because you see people leaking one against another on the staff. And I would just say, “Look, we’ve had a number of leaks here coming out of this operation. And people are gonna be removed from the White House if they keep doing this.”
And you’ve got to establish discipline over the staff there. Secondly, I think there’s a measure of discipline and direction that needs to be imposed by the president himself upon himself, with the help of the chief of staff, in the sense that “Sir, we gotta stay focused on this issue.”
Let me tell you, when I was with Reagan, I was director of communications, and we were trying to get aid to the Nicaraguan Contras fighting the Sandinistas, and Congress was against it and the Democrats controlled the House. So I worked with Ollie North and others, and we developed a communication strategy and a program. I was also working with commerce, people are going to make calls to various congressmen to bring them over. Have the president make phone calls, set it up so that two days before the vote, President of the United States goes on national television on the issue. Before that, I’m writing op-eds, people are speaking.
And you get the whole attention of the country focused on this issue, and then you tell all your forces, “Make your phone calls,” and direct all of them to one great battle. And I just don’t see that kind of coordination, cooperation and almost like a Normandy operation, coming out of the White House, and I think that’s what you need.
In the final part of this series tomorrow, Mr. Buchanan discusses whether President Trump is a natural and worthy heir to the populist movement stoked by Buchanan 25 years ago.
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