Donald Trump’s place in the public consciousness – prior to 2016, that is – revolved around two words: “You’re fired.”
That phrase was the one Trump uttered at the end of every episode of “The Apprentice,” his reality TV show that laid the groundwork – although we didn’t know it at the time – for his eventual presidential bid.
Here’s what’s weird about that fact: in real life, Trump doesn’t actually like firing people face to face, preferring the far more impersonal Twitter firing.
We learned on Wednesday that Trump weighed jettisoning both his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, from their White House roles via tweet.
According to a forthcoming book by The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, Trump was on the verge of tweeting that the duo was leaving the White House, but was stopped by chief of staff John Kelly, who insisted that the President had to speak with them before tweeting out their departures.
Trump never got around to doing that.
But he did fire any number of people by Twitter during his time as president.
His first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, was informed of his removal via tweet. He was in a Secret Service van on the tarmac waiting for Trump to get off Air Force One at the time.
“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country,” Trump tweeted in July 2017. “We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!”
Trump also fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. “Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State,” Trump tweeted in March 2018. “He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!”
Then there was FBI Director James Comey, who found out that he had been removed from his post by watching the news on television.
Why is Trump’s public image so different from how he actually carries out his business? At root, Trump wants to be liked. It’s why he has always been so focused on the size of his crowds and why he will never speak ill of any group that seems to like him (witness Trump’s refusal to forcefully condemn the QAnon conspiracy movement).
The Point: Despite his tough-guy persona, Trump is not into confrontation. So he leans on social media and other people to do the dirty and uncomfortable work of getting rid of those that he views to be problems.