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Mean Things Trump’s Team Has Said About Him

Many of his picks have been critical of their new boss in the past

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump’s supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump’s supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the Republican presidential primaries. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As President-elect Donald Trump assembles his White House team, many of his choices or people he has considered have had some unkind words about him.

Here are some of the worst thing some of them have said about him in the past:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations took numerous subtle digs at Trump throughout the campaign.

Her response to President Barack Obama’s last State of the Union address included a critique of Trump without mentioning his name.

“Some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference,” she said in January. “That is just not true. Often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume.”

Haley also endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio during the GOP presidential primaries. In March, Haley tweeted to Trump “Bless your heart,” which anyone who has spent any time in the South knows is not well-wishing.

Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Once thought to be considered for secretary of Interior, the House GOP Conference chairwoman explained on her Facebook page in May that she tepidly voted for Trump during the primary despite his derogatory comments about women and people with disabilities.

“They are wrong in a presidential campaign; in our workplaces; in our homes; and anywhere else,” wrote McMorris Rodgers, who has a son with Down Syndrome. “I’ve called him out before, and I won’t be shy if he does it again because he owes it to our party and our country to treat everyone respectfully and to build an inclusive coalition.”

She also excoriated Trump when his 2005 comments caught on a “Access Hollywood” hot mic about making unwanted sexual advances toward women were revealed, saying, “Mr. Trump must realize that it has no place in public or private conversations.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry 

Trump’s pick for Energy secretary has always had a mixed relationship with the president-elect.

In 2011, when Trump was flirting with the false notion that President Barack Obama was not an American-born citizen, Perry met with Trump and he subsequently told Parade magazine that Trump didn’t think Obama’s birth certificate was real. 

This time around, Perry called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” before his second presidential bid unraveled last year.

He later offered a less than full-throated endorsement as Trump emerged as the party’s nominee.

“He wasn’t my first choice, wasn’t my second choice, but he is the people’s choice,” Perry said.

Carly Fiorina

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO-turned-pseudo-running mate to Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries met with the incoming president this week at Trump Tower despite them having exchanged harsh critiques of each other throughout the primaries.

During the second GOP primary debate in September 2015, Trump said Hewlett-Packard was a “disaster and continues to be a disaster” because of her leadership.

In turn, Fiorina criticized Trump for his business dealings in Atlantic City. 

“You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once … not twice, four times, a record four times,” she said, which Trump vehemently denied.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Trump was also spotted looking at Fiorina on a screen and saying, “Look at that face.” This revelation led to Fiorina saying during the same debate, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”

Linda McMahon

Trump’s pick to lead the Small Business Administration and the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment has known Trump for many years, given that Trump hosted two WrestleManias and famously shaved her husband Vince McMahon’s head at WrestleMania 23. 

In an interview with Roll Call during Republican National Convention in July, McMahon said she and Trump were “not close social friends,” pointing out that she had previously backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the GOP nomination.

McMahon has also been unafraid to drop kick Trump for some of the things he has said about women. 

“Those [comments] were just over the top; they were deplorable, objectionable absolutely,” she told Yahoo Global News’ Katie Couric.

Reince Priebus

As chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus, who is Trump’s incoming chief of staff, was often put in the difficult position of defending the candidate’s inflammatory remarks while trying to maintain his distance.

In 2015, Priebus condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, saying, “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.” 

In October, after the revelation of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” remarks, Priebus said in a statement “No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever.”

Priebus is alleged to have later urged Trump to drop out of the race, according to New York magazine, telling the GOP nominee that he would “go down with a worse election loss than Barry Goldwater’s” if he didn’t. 

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