Kelly, Trump & Schaitberger

Boss as Bully Narcissist

John Kelly

The Kelly in the headline is White House chief of staff John Kelly, not the IAFF’s Kelly, a clarification that is essential because the difference could not be greater.

John Kelly is a tough and disciplined gentleman, a decorated senior Marine officer with a very long record of service.

You can like or hate Trump’s politics but everyone knows that underneath his very thin skin is a little-boy-bully craving approval who treats those around him like slaves, servants and serfs.

People who know the real Harold Schaitberger have been commenting at the almost uncanny similarity between the two.

Shady Schait

The other day, while in Arizona, Trump visited with border patrol agents who apparently mentioned they had trouble attending the event.

The Post describes what happened next.

“… Trump raised his voice with his chief of staff, whom he faulted for trying to restrict outside friends from having direct access to him.

That evening in Phoenix, Trump attempted to call Kelly onto the stage. “Where’s John?” he asked. “Where is he? Where’s General Kelly? Get him out here. He’s great. He’s doing a great job.”


That is vintage Schaitberger, to humiliate and abuse you publicly as a critical boost to his ego and then to turn around and act as if nothing happened.

More than once I watched Schaitberger pull the same routine, belittling staff publicly for no logical reason.

Ironically, the people who caused the infantile eruption, whether in Trump’s case the border patrol agents or in Schaitberger’s case, IAFF leaders, walk away scratching their heads both bewildered and embarrassed that they set the whole thing in motion.

I am sure the border patrol agents were appalled at the way Trump treated Kelly and sorry they ever said a thing.

I had IAFF leaders come to me after one of Schaitberger’s tantrums and say, “What was that all about?”

By the way, at the Phoenix rally, Kelly never appeared on stage–good for him.

The Times reports that just the other day Trump once again berated Kelly, “Mr. Kelly, the former Marine general… reacted calmly, but he later told other White House staff members that he had never been spoken to like that during 35 years of serving his country. In the future, he said, he would not abide such treatment, according to three people familiar with the exchange.”

Again, good for Kelly.

Mike Crouse, former IAFF vice president, also served for years as Schaitberger’s chief of staff and endured the same kind of sickening abuse including volcanic eruptions designed to feed the bully’s fragile psyche.

Mike Crouse

He retired very shortly after he became eligible.

I spent 23 years in a firehouse working for a variety of officers, some superb and some not-so.

Think of the best officer you ever worked for–fair, decent, professional, someone who backed you up to the hilt–double that and you have Mike Crouse.

And, Crouse was totally loyal to Schaitberger, doing everything in his power to help him succeed.

Schaitberger’s notion of the return of that loyalty was to heap abuse on a principled man.

Both Trump and Schaitberger use people in the cruelest way as they constantly need to reinforce egos that are fuled by a diseased combination of weakness and rage.

It’s the lowest form of leadership run amok.





  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    I agree with your final line about “diseased combination of rage.” I honestly think Trump is mentally ill — one tip-off is the wild exaggeration about how great certain projects are (or how large his crowds are). Something is way off, even frightening, and I’m surprised that so much of the public bought into such talk. Wishful thinking run amok!

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