When the final chapter is written on the impact Donald Trump’s presidency has had on government, it will tell the story of an administration that has undermined its capabilities in ways that are both well-known and under the radar. At best, this administration has sabotaged its own success. At worst, it’s weakened the nation’s ability to respond to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis and a host of national security issues.

Trump has ousted his own appointees at the Pentagon and elsewhere in a manner that has become the president’s signature — by tweet. Dismissing defence secretary Mark Esper and, more recently, Christopher Krebs, the director of the cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency, and replacing them with acolytes, fits the long-standing pattern of an administration that has seen four White House chiefs of staff, four national security advisers and unusually high cabinet turnover...

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