Home Text messaging Inside Ginni Thomas’ ‘insane’ hiring memos for former President Donald Trump

Inside Ginni Thomas’ ‘insane’ hiring memos for former President Donald Trump

7
0

Years before becoming one of President Donald Trump’s most prominent coup supporters, Ginni Thomas was already notorious in her West Wing for, among other things, ruining employees’ afternoons by dragging Trump into fits of vengeful rage.

“We all knew that within minutes of Ginni leaving his meeting with the president, he would start yelling about firing people for disloyalty,” a former senior Trump administration official said. “When Ginni Thomas arrived, you knew your day was ruined.”

Since becoming a welcome guest at Trump’s residences, Thomas – an influential and longtime conservative activist, and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas – had developed a tried-and-tested formula for captivating and manipulating emotions. and the mood of the president. On several occasions throughout the Trump era, Thomas would show up at the White House, sometimes for a private meeting or lunch with the president. She often came armed with written memos outlining who she and her allies think Trump should hire for plum jobs — and who she thinks Trump should quickly purge — that she handed out to Trump and other highs. government officials.

The fire lists were particularly problematic, as they were often based on pure conjecture, rumor, or settling of scores, where even staunchly MAGA wizards were targeted for membership in the “Deep State” or other so-called coalition. saying anti-Trump, according to people who saw them during the Trump administration. The recruiting lists were so often filled with infamous fanatics and conspiracy theorists, woefully underqualified names and obvious close friends of Thomas that several senior Trump aides laughed at them, i.e. until Trump forces his staff to put certain names through the official vetting process, three sources familiar with the matter said.

“Those fucking lists were so crazy and unenforceable.”

— a former Trump White House official

During the Trump years, these memos would astonish various administration officials, including those who worked in the White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO). Some of those officials noted that as Trump’s tenure continued, the Thomas lists would increasingly feature a disproportionate share of names more suited to an OAN guest list than any functional government. . (To be fair, long before Ginni Thomas became a regular visitor, Trump regularly hired people because they entertained or excited him, via Fox and other cable appearances.)

PPO officials routinely annotated the margins of Thomas’ hiring lists, usually including a single line for each rejected name, explaining why potential hires hadn’t worked out. Some failed background checks or suffered security clearance delays. Other annotations noted that a specific person was offered a job in the Trump administration, but turned it down for some reason.

Sometimes the reason for the White House’s preemptive rejection, despite Thomas and Trump’s best efforts, was more outlandish. According to someone who reviewed one of Thomas’ listings, an annotation for a MAGA job applicant noted that this person had made too many extreme or offensive jokes on social media that were still visible.

Another such annotation claimed that a recommendation for a position in the Trump administration was, in fact, a suspected foreign intelligence asset, or a spy.

Thomas did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Over the years, some of the specific names Thomas had compiled and pushed at Trump and his West Wing have leaked out in the press. Among them were Fox News personality Dan Bongino and Trump-adoring Sheriff David Clarke.

And according to two sources familiar with the matter, Thomas would have, in vain, advised the president at the time to hire Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney, a former Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, has spent the past two decades embracing some of the most absurd conspiracy theories circulating on the far right. He has accused conservative anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of being a Muslim Brotherhood secret agent and believes US adversaries are working on secret ‘electromagnetic pulse’ weapons frying electrical devices to bring America back to the era. preindustrial.

“These fucking lists were so crazy and unworkable,” said a former Trump White House official who had to personally deal with the memos Thomas provided and Trump’s fascination with them. “Many of them were dripping with paranoia and read as if they were written by a disturbed person.”

After Thomas left, he was soon summoning various government personnel—the West Wing brass, national security aides, lawyers, and other underlings, depending on proximity or occasion—to informing them that he had just spoken to “Ginni”.

Trump would then identify an official — or, at times, he would rattle off a string of names — who he said should be fired “immediately,” according to people familiar with the matter.

When they could get away with it, many of these Trump administration hands slowly followed these Thomas-inspired firing guidelines and waited for Trump to invariably forget about him, calm down, and move on to other fixations and holds. Others would rush to try to calm Trump down themselves, advising their boss to reconsider, telling him that a firing or a bigger purge midway through Trump’s term would make him look bad or attract negative media attention. .

Thomas’ interactions with the Trump administration have taken on new meaning since the Jan. 6 House Select Committee released text messages showing her urging Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to help nullify the election of 2020. Committee members are now seeking to interview Thomas, whose efforts to overturn the 2020 election included attending a “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall on the day of the uprising.

“Trump loved talking to Ginni so much because he loved hearing who a Never Trumper was, or supposedly one. He liked people who flattered him, [as Ginni would do]said Stephanie Grisham, a former White House aide to Trump who has since had a very public falling out with the ex-president. “But also, apart from his obsession with loyalty, he loved to chat – all the time. It’s something else he took away from his series of meetings at the White House with Ginni Thomas.

In text messages released by the committee last month, Thomas defended Sidney Powell, the “Kraken” attorney whose election conspiracy theories were so outlandish they landed him a billion-dollar libel suit, contempt for rank-and-file Republican officials and punishment from a Michigan court. At the time, a number of Trump aides were trying to steer the president away from Powell over her increasingly outlandish comments about bogus voter fraud. Thomas, however, urged Meadows not to give in to mainstream Republicans, according to The New York Times.

In his texts with Trump’s consigliere, Thomas also showed a fondness for Steve Pieczenik, a far-right pundit and former co-author of Tom Clancy whose conspiracy theories and false claims were so outlandish that even InfoWars told him. briefly blocked from appearing on the network. Before he began posting fake stories about watermarked fraudulent ballots that won Thomas’s endorsement, Pieczenik had pushed QAnon conspiracy theories, claimed to have arrested Pope Francis and told false stories about mass shootings. important being false flags.

During the Obama administration, Thomas and Gaffney participated in a conservative messaging effort known as “Groundswell”. The group, an informal network of conservative journalists, pundits and political operatives, met regularly at the offices of the right-wing activist group Judicial Watch to coordinate talking points opposed to the Obama administration’s agenda. and plotting the ousting of supposedly moderate Republicans like Karl Rove. of the broader conservative movement.

The revelation of Thomas’s texts with Meadows prompted the Jan. 6 Committee to request an interview with her, according to CNN, but that effort falls far short of the more legally binding option of a subpoena.

In the meantime, congressional Democrats are split on how to handle Thomas’ cameo in the Jan. 6 scandal. Some, like Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, have called on Thomas to recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases while others like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called for him to resign or be impeached.

But the lack of a Democratic supermajority in the Senate means neither of the Thomases will likely have to give up their jobs just yet.