One of the worst things any chief executive can suffer is groupthink from their senior advisers. Watching Trump's Cabinet meetings, it often seems that speakers are simply reinforcing Trump's own opinions.
So, I welcome the news reported by Bloomberg that White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton went apoplectic towards one another outside the Oval Office on Thursday. CNN suggests the issue at contention was the migrant caravan heading towards the U.S. border. Regardless, while showdowns such as this one would be problematic for staff morale and White House decorum if they regularly occurred, as occasional incidents, they're good things.
The stakes in forming executive government policy are high. Indeed, the decisions President Trump makes are the most serious anyone on Earth makes. It makes sense that those who care about the national interest would be animated towards ensuring the president's policies are set upon the best course. And in Bolton and Kelly, the president has two very experienced advisers who are passionate about their views. Bolton is renowned for his singular attention to detail and his intolerance for prevarication. Kelly is a combat infantry officer who rose to wear four stars for the Marine Corps. That predisposes him to go at the jugular of any enemy and any issue.
Of course, this isn't really about Bolton or Kelly; it's about Trump. Even then, it's not about Trump per se but about his maximized potential to lead the country effectively. By having two senior advisers offering two different viewpoints on important issues, Trump avoids the groupthink that can sink good government.
In turn, whether regularly in private or occasionally in plain view, I welcome the competing energy this showdown represents.