Team of Vipers
Cliff Sims
Contributed by Shemika Thormahlen
Chapter 12

In spite of the fierce political competition and power wars in the White House, there were a number of professionals who were honestly concerned with their jobs. While some were too engrossed in their fights to deliver on their mandate, especially ones at the senior levels, there were those who thought that they just had to do their jobs and go home. In one example, Sims mentions that, “Every other interaction I ever had with Gary was positive. All he really cared about was performance, and you can bet we wouldn’t have lasted if we weren’t at the top of our game. But he made it clear from that point forward that he and Mnuchin were going to be on equal footing in every way. He’d left one of the top jobs in the finance world because he saw a chance to overhaul the tax code, which could impact the economy for decades. He hadn’t done that to take a backseat to anyone.” Thus, it appears that the President had not entirely lost since there are people he could still rely on.

The tax reform was at the center of Trump’s interests. During the campaigns, he had promised that changes would be introduced in the country; he wanted a tax system that would be favorable to both the rich and the poor. Sims notes that, “Back at the White House, Trump worked the phones constantly. If someone mentioned in a meeting that a lawmaker was waffling or didn’t like a part of the tax plan, the President would call out for his assistant Madeleine to call them up. If a policy briefing alerted him to something, he wanted the bill writers to take a look at, he’d have her get them on the line right away.” Trump showed tremendous concern about the tax reform, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it succeeds.


The tax reform was one of the promises that Trump had presented to the electorate during his campaigning period. It is therefore not surprising how the President has taken a personal interest in the matter. Throughout the process, Trump was very involved in the policy-making process, having showed attention to every detail — and which eventually bore fruit, given how the reforms were eventually adopted by Congress. Several lessons can be learned from this chapter. Firstly, it is notable that the teamwork injected into this process played an important role in the realization of the success. Additionally, Trump was always available to offer leadership. When the two are practiced in tandem, success is inevitable.

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