This is about Donald Trump the person. It is not a comment about any of his policies. It is not about politics. It is not about political parties or tribes.

It is about ...

His lack of character.
His lack of skill—business or personal.
His lack of supporters among anyone that has worked with or for him—those that know him best.

I think I understand the anger and frustration many of his supporters feel.
I think I understand the positions of the current administration that his supporters disagree with.
I think I understand that many folks feel "the elites" have failed them.
I think I understand that those people feel exploited and see Trump as their savior and retribution.
I think I understand that some people believe they are loosing a culture they grew up with.

I might even agree with some of these perspectives. But you don't cut off your nose to spite your face. You don't choose Donald Trump to lead when you've already seen how he "leads". You don't solve these problems by putting a con-man in charge. You don't choose Trump after hearing everyone that has worked with him plainly warn us to never let him return to national leadership.

To help, I've summarized below what 17 people from government that worked closely with him over recent times, and two family members, have to say to us all.

Government Co-workers

In a 2016 interview with Bret Baier, Donald Trump said, "I am going to surround myself with only the best and most serious people." Remember that as you read. These were all people Donald Trump chose as "the best and most serious" people. He chose them to be part of his "team" and made them part of his administration. So which is it, they were all incompetent and Trump is an incompetent leader for choosing so poorly, or they are competent and are telling you the truth and Trump is the one with issues. You can't have both. Either way the conclusion is Trump should never be returned to leadership.

Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice President:

“The American people deserve to know that President Trump asked me to put him over my oath to the Constitution. … Anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be president of the United States.”

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2023/08/mike-pence-donald-trump-2024-attacks-escalating/
https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4140038-pence-on-being-asked-to-overturn-the-2020-election-president-trump-was-wrong-then-and-hes-wrong-now/

John Kelly, retired Marine General and Trump’s longest serving Chief of Staff:

“A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law. There is nothing more that can be said. God help us.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/10/02/john-kellys-full-throated-confirmation-trumps-ugliest-comments-parsed/
https://www.cnn.com/2023/10/02/politics/john-kelly-donald-trump-us-service-members-veterans/index.html
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/john-kelly-confirms-trump-privately-disparaged-us-service-members-vete-rcna118543

Rex Tillerson, Trump’s first Secretary of State:

“(Trump’s) understanding of global events, his understanding of global history, his understanding of US history was really limited. It’s really hard to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t even understand the concept for why we’re talking about this.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/15/politics/tillerson-foreign-policy-interview/index.html
https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/01/11/rex-tillerson-interview-trump/
https://people.com/politics/rex-tillerson-savages-president-trump-as-uninformed-and-easily-distracted/

John Bolton, Trump’s 3rd National Security Advisor:

“I believe (foreign leaders) think he is a laughing fool.”

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/john-bolton-foreign-leaders-think-trump-is-a-laughing-fool/
https://www.politico.com/news/2023/05/16/donald-trump-fool-world-leaders-00097103

Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s communications director:

“He is the domestic terrorist of the 21st century.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9150209/Anthony-Scaramucci-blasts-Trump-domestic-terrorist-21st-century.html
https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/01/15/anthony-scaramucci-trump-historical-view-sot-ac360-vpx.cnn

Mark Esper, Trump’s 2nd Secretary of Defense:

“I think he’s unfit for office. … He puts himself before country. His actions are all about him and not about the country. And then, of course, I believe he has integrity and character issues as well.”

https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/3738573-ex-trump-defense-chief-hes-unfit-for-office-shouldnt-run/
https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2022/05/trump-esper-republicans-must-speak-up-democracy-constitution/676405/
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/former-defense-secretary-mark-esper-details-his-fraught-relationship-with-trump
https://www.businessinsider.com/mark-esper-says-trump-cant-win-elections-after-his-2024-launch-2022-11

Bill Barr, Trump's second attorney general:

“Someone who engaged in that kind of bullying about a process that is fundamental to our system and to our self-government shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office.”

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/08/bill-barr-donald-trump-knew-he-lost
https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/03/politics/bill-barr-trump-arraignment-2020-election/index.html

James Mattis, Trump's first secretary of defense:

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.”

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/06/james-mattis-denounces-trump-protests-militarization/612640/
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/03/former-defense-secretary-mattis-breaks-silence-and-tears-into-trump-he-tries-to-divide-us.html

HR McMaster, Trump's second national security adviser:

“We saw the absence of leadership, really anti-leadership, and what that can do to our country.”

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2021/01/17/mcmaster-trumps-anti-leadership-spreading-sustained-disinformation-caused-capital-riots/

Stephanie Grisham, Trump's former communications director:

“I am terrified of him running in 2024.”

https://abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-trump-aide-stephanie-grisham-terrified-trump-running/story?id=80398083
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10060913/I-terrified-Trump-running-2024-Stephanie-Grisham-says-Trump-erratic-delusional.html

Richard Spencer, Trump's first secretary of the Navy:

“…the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-spencer-i-was-fired-as-navy-secretary-heres-what-ive-learned-because-of-it/2019/11/27/9c2e58bc-1092-11ea-bf62-eadd5d11f559_story.html
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/gallagher-case-reveals-trump-s-ignorance-military-fired-navy-secretary-n1092931

Tom Bossert, Trump's first homeland security adviser:

“The President undermined American democracy baselessly for months. As a result, he’s culpable for this siege, and an utter disgrace.”

https://twitter.com/TomBossert/status/1346926112496996353

Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump's former director of strategic communications:

“We can stand by the policies, but at this point we cannot stand by the man.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/08/politics/alyssa-farah-trump-lied-resignation-cnntv/index.html

Sarah Matthews, Trump's former deputy press secretary:

“I thought that he did do a lot of good during his four years. I think that his actions on January 6 and the lead-up to it, the way that he’s acted in the aftermath, and his continuation of pushing this lie that the election is stolen has made him wholly unfit to hold office ever again.”

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4383263-three-women-who-spoke-out-on-trump-give-grave-warning-on-his-return-to-office/

Cassidy Hutchinson, Trump's final chief of staff’s aide:

“I think that Donald Trump is the most grave threat we will face to our democracy in our lifetime, and potentially in American history.”

https://www.the-independent.com/news/world/americas/us-politics/cassidy-hutchinson-donald-trump-poisoned-b2424784.html

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's former acting chief of staff, who resigned as US special envoy to Ireland after January 6, 2021:

“I quit because I think he failed at being the president when we needed him to be that.”

https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2023/11/mick-mulvaney-harvard

Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer and long-time confidante and fixer:

“Donald’s an idiot.”

https://www.axios.com/2023/08/22/michael-cohen-donald-trump-legal-fees-idiot-co-defendants
https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4164028-cohen-knocks-trump-for-not-paying-alleged-co-conspirators-legal-bills/

Lawyers

Lawyers representing Trump in recent years have received an unusual number of negative consequences. It appears they have engaged in practices well beyond the norm for attorneys representing any other—even other high profile—client. I speculate that this might be directly caused by their client. I imagine if you ask any of them, now that they no longer represent him, what their opinion might be of their former client you would get a strong negative reaction.

The American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct provide that:

…a lawyer should further the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.

While they may have in the past, it seems to me that while representing Trump this collection of lawyers have not performed up to this standard. What is the common characteristic or influence that they all share?

Professional consequences

Michael Cohen was Trump's personal lawyer from 2006-2018. He found that representing Trump can be a professionally risky business. Cohen was disbarred in 2019 for making false statements to Congress concerning Trump’s business activities in Russia. Found guilty to lying to U.S. congressional committees about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.

L. Lin Wood surrendered his license in Georgia, reportedly in exchange for dismissal of disciplinary proceedings against him.

Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from practicing in the state of New York for his work on behalf of Trump. In the District of Columbia, the Board On Professional Responsibility has recommended his disbarment.

Jeffrey Clark is facing disciplinary proceedings in the District of Columbia.

John Eastman is facing disciplinary proceedings in California for his participation in efforts to prevent the certification of the presidential election.

Jenna Ellis has been censured by the Colorado Bar for her false public statements (“misrepresentations”) on behalf of Trump about purported election fraud in 2020.

Attorneys Julia Haller, Scott Hagerstrom, Brandon Johnson,  Howard Kleinhendler, Sidney Powell, Gregory J. Rohl, and L. Lin Wood were sanctioned by the U.S. District Court (Eastern District of Michigan) in the King v. Whitmer litigation.

In the New York lawsuit against the Trump Organization for property-valuation fraud, the presiding judge recently sanctioned five of Trump’s attorneys (Michael Farina, Christopher M. Kise, Michael Madaio, Armen Morian, and Clifford S. Robert) for “frivolous motion practice.”

Criminal consequences

Robert Cheeley, Kenneth Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Ray Smith have been indicted in Georgia for their alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Jenna Ellis has pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case to one felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements and writings.

Kenneth Chesebro has pleaded guilty in the Georgia election interference case to one felony count of conspiracy to commit filing false documents. 

Sidney Powell has pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties in the Georgia election interference case.

https://www.justsecurity.org/90509/trumps-lawyers-face-sanctions-discipline-and-indictment-how-should-the-legal-profession-respond/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianbushard/2024/01/16/joe-tacopina-steps-down-heres-a-timeline-of-all-the-trump-lawyers-who-have-quit/https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/16/us/politics/trump-lawyers-fees.html

Has any defendant ever left so many lawyers negatively impacted in their wake in the entire history of American legal action? What can you conclude about the personal characteristics of that defendant?

Family

Maryanne Trump Barry, Trump’s late sister and a retired federal judge:

“Donald is out for Donald, period.”
“Donald is cruel.”
“You can’t trust him.”
“He has no principles. None.”
“The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy sh*t.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/maryanne-trump-barry-secret-recordings/2020/08/22/30d457f4-e334-11ea-ade1-28daf1a5e919_story.html
https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/22/politics/maryanne-trump-barry-donald-trump-mary-trump/index.html

Mary L. Trump, Trump’s niece and a psychologist said it all in the title of her book:

“Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Too_Much_and_Never_Enough

Business

And, regarding business skill, Trump’s companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six times. Bankruptcy is certainly one very significant measure of his business skill. Here are his bankruptcies thus far:

  1. Trump’s Taj Mahal in Atlantic City 1991
  2. & 3. two other Atlantic City casinos 1992
  3. The Plaza Hotel in New York 1992
  4. Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts filed for bankruptcy in 2004
  5. Trump Entertainment Resorts declared bankruptcy in 2009

Even if you attempt to argue that six business bankruptcies are no problem because they represent a useful business strategy, in no way can you argue that it is a sign of success. No business that is doing well, growing, well operated, and well managed chooses bankruptcy to gain any advantage. It is an approach that only applies when the business is going badly with the only option remaining to attempt to save the remaining assets as best possible. Collectively, these are another proof that Trump is not skillful and not a successful leader.

Donald J. Trump Foundation

On December 18, 2018, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that the Foundation had agreed to shut down under court supervision and distribute its remaining assets to court-approved charities, although the attorney general's office would continue its investigations of, and legal actions against, the foundation and its directors leading to a $2m payment by Trump and admission of guilt. Allegations and issues included:

  • Failure to maintain proper governance
  • Solicitation of donations without a license
  • Mishandling of funds raised for veterans' causes
  • Coordinating foundation grants with Trump's presidential campaign
  • Using Trump Foundation money to settle Trump Organization legal disputes
  • Grants allegedly made for political purposes
  • Partial payment of an assessment owed by the Plaza Hotel (a Trump owned property)
  • Purchasing goods and services for personal or business benefit with foundation money
  • Diversion of taxable income to the foundation as donations
  • Granting money to charities that rented Trump Organization facilities
  • Making grants to other private foundations without fulfilling IRS "expenditure responsibility" rules. Foundation tax returns show that it failed to do this for all twenty of the grants it made to private foundations during the period of 2005 through 2014.

The list of issues were extensive calling into question what the purpose was for the Foundation. It was certainly not functioning as a charitable foundation. Either this was caused by gross incompetence in management and oversight or by intent as a fraudulent financial activity. In both cases the Foundation reflects poorly on Trump's business skill, once again providing proof of his lack of business skill.

In summary, is this the business track record of a successful leader? Someone that is well equipped to be the leader of the US Executive Branch? His record is one of a incompetent con artist failure. Not the desirable resume of a great leader.

Summary

So, lack of skill seems to be true in government, business and personal relationships in his family. At what is he skillful? Maybe just conning others?