After A Week Filled With Firings Who Are The “Adults In The Room”?

Through President Donald Trump is famous for his reality show catch phrase, “You’re fired!” he still lacks the courtesy and courage to say it to people respectfully as he dismisses them from service in his administration.

For Trump it is fun to fire people on a reality television show for ratings. However, Trump reveals the true level of is maturity when he fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. It is no surprise then that with Tillerson out many are wondering who are the “adults left in the room” with Trump.

When John Kelly entered the White House as the President’s new Chief of Staff, it was believed that he would be the “adult in the room” and restore order and function to a chaotic administration. However, it didn’t take him long to fail to live up to that standard. His misogynistic and racist comments from the press room directed at a U.S Representative revealed his character and inability to function as “an adult in the room”.

Some people hoped former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster would make up for their lack of qualifications for their roles by bringing order, stability, and maturity to the petulance in the White House. This is especially notable given that former Secretary Tillerson left the State Department largely gutted with many essential positions unfilled and was largely chosen because of his positive relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nevertheless, Tillerson along with McMaster had the courage to do what few in this White House have been able to do: tell the truth about Russia. This ultimately cost them their jobs. Even with Trump’s previous praise of the generals named to his administration, it only extends as far as their loyalty to him.

The “give him a chance” for the “presidential pivot” that so many were counting on happening following the inauguration never materialized. This was never going to transpire and was obvious from the campaign, still many refused to accept or see this.

Instead of demanding better from a president who is incapable, instead of holding him to the high standards of this office, instead of saying he is unfit and unable to serve, it has become acceptable to ask, Who are the “adults in the room” keeping him in line?

Spoiler alert: they are all adults.

From the President of the United States of America who is in his seventies to former Communications Director Hope Hicks who is not yet thirty, they are all adults.

The adults in his cabinet may not know a thing about their department like Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, and Ben Carson, but Ben Carson and Steven Mnuchin among others know how to exploit tax payer funds for travel, entertainment, and even office furniture.

With Tillerson and McMaster among others out this past week and the likes of Larry Kudlow becoming Trump’s next economic advisor and Gina Haspel being named to succeed Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA as he has been named Trump’s next Secretary of State, more chaos is on the horizon of this tempestuous administration that thrives on conflict and turmoil—a strategy of exhaustion by authoritarian types who simply seek to exhaust their opposition into submission.

This is what make normalizing the phrase “adults in the room” deeply troubling. I cannot imagine, even amid the disasters in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, people saying we need “adults in the room” to control the president.

The normalization of this expression with the current administration marks a measure of acceptance that cannot be tolerated for the health of our democracy.

We don’t need any more “adults in the room”. What we need are the youth of our country who have shown maturity beyond their years to temper the president’s petulance and demand that Congress hold him accountable even as they lead the way on gun control.

There are plenty of “adults in the room”. That is not the problem. The problem is the alarming lack of fitness Trump has for being the President of the United States of America, his naming the unqualified to critical leadership positions, and the utter failure of Republicans in Congress to hold him and his administration accountable to the high standards of the office.

Still more troubling than Trump’s inability to do his job is the long-term damage being done to our democracy by the slow erosion of norms and the surrender to needing “adults in the room” to temper Trump from even greater embarrassments and dangers that have become a daily reality.

Sadly, it is the vulnerable among us and throughout the world who suffer the most from the petulance and narcissism that needs constant buffering in the Oval Office. I wonder less about who the “adults in the room” are and more about all the Christians who tolerate the despicable, deplorable, and dangerous instead of fighting for justice and peace in the spirit of compassion and mercy for the common good of all people, all creation, and the planet we share.