Trump should listen to his Cabinet: Column

In his short tenure so far, President Trump has not exactly calmed the country’s nervous wondering about how he will govern. His collection of Cabinet appointees provides the biggest clue about what’s to come.

If Trump stays consistent with his pattern, he will almost certainly be mostly focused on the ceremonial and public aspects to his job. Think of him as tweeter-in-chief. Or as the CEO who relies on his executives to do much of the daily work.

If so, who exactly will do the business of the nation? It could be the new president will return to the ancient concept of Cabinet government and let his top officials guide him.

Perhaps the last great example of an administration that attempted some sort of cabinet government was the Eisenhower administration. Although very much in charge, Ike nonetheless welcomed the input of his cabinet on key issues of the day.

During the civil rights debates of the 1950s, for example, the president leaned heavily on the advice and counsel of his attorney general, Herbert Brownell. Indeed, Brownell gladly used his position to push the president toward a more progressive posture on civil rights and even convinced a skeptical president to submit a brief in support of the NAACP argument in the Supreme Court case of Brown v. the Board of Education.

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But if it was Eisenhower who utilized cabinet government, it was Nixon who helped end it. When Ike’s former vice president became the chief executive in 1969, he began the process of consolidating foreign policy and national security decision-making in the White House.

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