From Jeff Sessions to John Bolton, the president has insisted he only hires "the best people." He tends to change his mind and insult them when they leave.
1. Trump on John Bolton
April 19, 2018: "I think he's going to be a fantastic representative of our team. He's highly respected by everybody in this room."
June 18, 2020: "Wacko John Bolton’s 'exceedingly tedious' (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories. Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!"
2. Trump on Steve Bannon
Nov. 23, 2016: "I know the guy, he's a decent guy, he's a very smart guy. He's done a good job."
Jan. 3, 2018: "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
"Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn’t represent my base — he’s only in it for himself.
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books."
3. Trump on John Kelly
Feb. 8, 2017: "General Kelly is an extremely talented man and a very good man -- now Secretary Kelly, Homeland Security. ... He's a great man."
Feb. 13, 2020: "When I terminated John Kelly, which I couldn’t do fast enough, he knew full well that he was way over his head. Being Chief of Staff just wasn’t for him. He came in with a bang, went out with a whimper, but like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut."
4. Trump on James Mattis
Jan. 27, 2017: "Secretary Mattis devoted his life to serving his country. He's a man of honor, a man of devotion, and a man of total action."
June 3, 2020: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed to 'Mad Dog'... His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom 'brought home the bacon'. I didn’t like his 'leadership' style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!"
5. Trump on Omarosa Manigault Newman
Dec. 14, 2017: "I like Omarosa. Omarosa is a good person."
Aug. 31, 2019: "Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements. Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book."
6. Trump on Gary Cohn
June 21, 2017 (discussing Cohn and Secretary Wilbur Ross): "These are people that are great, brilliant business minds."
Oct. 11, 2018: “Gary Cohn, I could tell stories about him like you wouldn’t believe.”
7. Trump on Jeff Sessions
Feb. 9, 2017: "He has devoted his life to the cause of justice and believes deeply that all people are equals in the eyes of the law - and very importantly for Jeff and for so many of us, also in the eyes of God.
"He’s a man of integrity, a man of principle, and a man of total, utter resolve. You just got a little witnessing of that. That resolve is what we need right now. America faces many challenges. We face the menace of rising crime and the threat of deadly terror. And it’s not getting better, but it will get better very soon. It’s going to get a lot better.
"These dangerous times require a determined attorney general, which is what Jeff is."
May 24, 2020: "Jeff Sessions was a disaster as attorney general. Should have never been attorney general, was not qualified. He's not mentally qualified to be attorney general. He was the biggest problem."
8. Trump on Rex Tillerson
April 12, 2017: "I also want to acknowledge the great work being done by our Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, to strengthen the NATO Alliance, as well as the Secretary's trip to Moscow to promote the security interest of the United States and its allies. He did a terrific job. Just watched parts of it - an absolutely terrific job."
May 23, 2019: "Rex Tillerson...didn't have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn't get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell."
9. Trump on Anthony Scaramucci
July 21, 2017: “Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this Administration. He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team."
Aug. 19, 2019: "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!"
10. Trump on Dan Coats
July 18, 2018: "He's been doing a very good job. I have tremendous faith in Dan Coats."
May 24, 2020: "I'm so disappointed that Dan Coats didn't do his job ... Dan Coats was a big mistake."
11. Trump on James Comey
April 12, 2017: "I have confidence in him."
April 13, 2018: "James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and untruthful slimeball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst "botch jobs" of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!"
12. Trump on Michael Cohen
Jan. 11, 2017: "Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer. He's a good lawyer in my firm."
Aug. 22, 2018: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!"