All the President’s yes men are hurting him, friend says
WASHINGTON: A close confidant of Donald Trump delivered a rare public rebuke yesterday, saying the President had surrounded himself with “yes men” and urging him to split from his nationalist base.
Tom Barrack, 70, a billionaire property mogul who turned down a cabinet position, is considered one of the few people Mr Trump regards as a peer.
Mr Barrack said he was bewildered by Mr Trump’s focus on contentious issues such as the Muslim travel ban and a wall along the Mexican border.
“He thinks he has to be loyal to his base,” Mr Barrack told The Washington Post. “I keep on saying, ‘But who is your base? You don’t have a natural base. Your base now is the world and America, so you have all these constituencies. Show them who you really are.’ In my opinion, he’s better than this.”
Mr Barrack has known Mr Trump since the 1980s. He raised funds for his campaign and was mentioned as a possible White House chief of staff.
He said yesterday he had been shocked by Mr Trump’s incendiary tweets. “I tell him all the time, ‘I don’t like the rhetoric’,” Mr Barrack said.
He added Mr Trump was surrounded by too many “yes men”. “He is very good at being told he is wrong,” he said.
“People don’t have the courage to do it. He pushes back hard, but the people he respects the most are the people who have the most refined and not wimpy point of view.”
Mr Barrack said the two had “a great personal friendship”, adding: “Our lives went along the same cadence. We both got divorced, we both had kids the same age, we both got remarried, and we did different deals together.”
Asked how their friendship had survived, Mr Barrack said: “Here’s what I think the answer is: I’ve never needed anything from him ... I was always subservient to him.”