There is a lot of talk at the moment about how the “intelligence community” brought down Michael Flynn, and how Trump’s opponents now smell blood in the water and will go after another of his cabinet as they attempt to destroy his entire administration and Presidency.
What surprised me about Flynn’s resignation was that Trump accepted it. Perhaps Trump is the sort of man who will see any resignation as a sign that the individual in question is no longer up to the job. I have certainly seen American managers of far lower stature than Trump refuse to waver over an employee’s resignation on the grounds that to enter into a negotiation after he or she has resigned is a sign of weakness on the part of the manager. Any negotiations must take place beforehand, with the resignation being a final decision. I know at least one person who submitted his resignation in the hope his management would beg him to stay and was most upset to find it promptly accepted and him being shuffled out the door. So that might be one reason why Trump accepted Flynn’s resignation.
But assuming this was not the case, why would Trump accept Flynn’s resignation when doing so would appear to be a victory for his opponents and give credibility to the claims that Flynn had done something wrong? My guess is that Flynn’s resignation was accepted, and possibly even encouraged, by Trump because he had breached some sort of internal disciplinary standard rather than because he has been compromised by the Russians and there is a baying mob outside the White House doors. In other words, somewhere along the line Flynn pissed off Trump, probably unintentionally, and for Trump maintaining discipline among the ranks is important. What Flynn actually did in relation to the Russians is likely to have nothing to do with the decision to remove him from the post, and nor are the “demands” of Trump’s opponents.
If Trump is the sort of person who can be pushed into firing members of his cabinet by media pressure, opportunistic Democrats and Republicans, and treacherous staff in the civil service then he might as well pack up and go home now. I suspect this isn’t the case, and Flynn was fired for reasons that have more to do with how Trump manages than what the media say he did. I doubt we’ll know for a few years exactly how Flynn transgressed, but Trump will have made it abundantly clear to the rest of his team and they’ll not be making the same mistake. If I’m right on this, next time the “intelligence community” or somebody else tries to force out one of Trump’s cabinet picks – which I think will be very soon the way things are going – they might find the target to be quite well protected. They might also find revenge to be swift.