July 12, 2020

NO, IT DIDN’T START WITH TRUMP: Fight Club: Rivalries in the White House form Truman to Trump. While reading Tevi Troy’s excellent history of infighting at the White House, I found myself thinking of John Bolton, the new media darling now that he has turned on Trump. Troy describes how Eisenhower’s secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, alienated Harold Stassen and other foreign-policy colleagues with his unremitting arrogance: 

According to Stassen, “My best summary of Dulles is that he always knew he was absolutely right. Further, he knew that anyone who disagreed with him was, of logical necessity, always wrong. And finally, he could not understand how anyone could dare question the fact that he was always right.” It wasn’t just Stassen who had a problem with the priggish Dulles, though. As Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once said, “I’m not sure I want to go to heaven. I’m afraid I might meet John Foster Dulles there.” Some U.S. allies had misgivings about Dulles as well. Harold Wilson, a British member of Parliament and future prime minister, once mocked Dulles’s propensity to try to be everywhere all the time: “I heard they are inventing an airplane that can fly without Dulles! They hope soon to get it into production.” Winston Churchill himself once famously mocked Dulles via declension: “Dull, Duller, Dulles.”

Read the whole thing.



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