- Trump’s ex-Russia advisor said his White House was as “dirty and filled with intrigue” as the Kremlin.
- Fiona Hill compared her NSC job, “with all the endless hits and explosions,” to the World War II blitz.
- The Trump White House often made headlines because of its warring factions and high rate of turnover.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The former Russia expert for the Trump administration said that the political drama at the Trump White House was “as dirty and filled with intrigue” as the Kremlin’s.
That’s according to “There Is Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity in the 21st Century,” by Fiona Hill.
Hill served as an intelligence analyst from 2006 to 2009, under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2017, she was appointed deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under President Donald Trump.
Hill in her memoir compared her job at the NSC under Trump, “with all the endless hits and explosions,” to the World War II blitz, referring to the Nazis’ bombing campaign against Britain.
“It was just as exhausting putting out political incendiary devices at the White House before someone’s game blew us up too,” she wrote, adding that she ended up treating her experience “as a foray into terra incognita,” or unexplored territory.
“I found myself conducting a social anthropological study of the White House, turning the lens around on the United States and noting the parallels with upheavals I had seen and experienced elsewhere,” Hill wrote. “The political machinations around the Trump White House turned out to be as dirty and filled with intrigue as the Kremlin’s, and the atmosphere was as tumultuous as my life in the UK had been in the 1970s and 1980s.”
Indeed, the Trump White House often made headlines for its warring factions and high rate of turnover. Including those who served in acting capacities, Trump went through six national security advisors, six attorneys general, four White House press secretaries, four chiefs of staff, four defense secretaries, and two secretaries of state.
His administration was also plagued by both internal and external scandal. Multiple senior Trump administration and campaign officials pleaded guilty to felonies as part of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling, including Trump’s campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, and first national security advisor.
The Trump White House was also often criticized for its coziness with the Justice Department, which is traditionally meant to be insulated from political interference. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey after Comey refused to pledge loyalty to him, and he also forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe.
Trump himself was impeached twice – first on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection to his Ukraine pressure campaign, and the second time on a charge of incitement of insurrection related to the deadly Capitol riot.
Trump’s obsession with his personal brand and apparent lack of interest in governing also frustrated those around him. Hill wrote in her memoir that most of the meetings she participated in at the White House devolved into Trump complaining about his predecessors, calling them “idiots,” and claiming credit for successes he had nothing to do with.
Hill described Trump as a counterintelligence and national security risk because of his fragile ego and susceptibility to flattery. Trump’s first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, reportedly called him a “fucking moron,” and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both reportedly thought Trump was “crazy.” Milley later testified that he said he was “not qualified” to assess Trump’s mental health.
There’s been intense speculation over the last few months about whether Trump will run for president again in 2024. The Washington Post reported this week that Trump wanted to officially announce his candidacy last month, as the Biden administration was facing sharp criticism for the shoddy way it handled withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. But Trump’s advisors talked him out of making the announcement, according to The Post, and convinced him to settle on a strategy of “winks and nods.”
Hill, for her part, thinks Trump will be the 2024 Republican candidate for president, telling The Daily Beast, “He wants to be king. He still wants to be king and regain his throne.”