James Mattis and John Bolton either resigned or were fired by the president as defense secretary and national security adviser, respectively. Months later, the president referred to Mattis as “the world’s most overrated general.”

Mattis responded: “I stand before you ... really having achieved greatness. I mean, I’m not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated. I am honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals. And frankly, that sounds pretty good to me. And you do have to admit, that between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.” Another quip by Mattis was “I earned my spurs on the battlefield. Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.” This referred to Trump getting off from serving in Vietnam by claiming that he could not serve due to having bone spurs on his heels.

Bolton, after his resignation/termination, publicly criticized the president’s foreign policy, contradicting Trump’s claim concerning the “success” of his policy with North Korea. It has been reported that Bolton is in negotiations with the House committees investigating the Ukrainian incident to allow him to testify. I doubt that his testimony will be helpful to the president.

The president also fired James Comey as head of the FBI while Comey was speaking at an FBI convention in California. Comey found out about his firing from news reports on television. Comey then became a witness against Trump during the Mueller investigation and has been a frequent critic.

Trump also fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state by tweet. Subsequently, at different times Tillerson made negative comments concerning the president. For example, “Mr. Trump was undisciplined, didn’t read, and didn’t like to delve into the details of issues.”

These are just some examples of former members of the Trump administration who, at a minimum, were willing to make negative comments about their former boss. I doubt that they acted the same way in their former positions. Whether they would have acted differently if Trump had treated them better can be debated. However, it made their choice much easier.

We should learn from Trump’s conduct and his former employees’ responses how to treat people. None of us has the power of the president of the United States and most of us are not supervisors or business owners with employees. However, we deal with people on a daily basis. When you treat people with respect they will most likely treat you with respect. If you treat people like dirt they will be more inclined not to give you the benefit of the doubt and could seek revenge.

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.