McEnany: Trump likes to hire people with 'countervailing viewpoints'

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE prefers to hire individuals who have “countervailing viewpoints” when asked about his criticism of former aides and Cabinet officials.

“The president makes hiring decisions based on the fact that he likes to have countervailing viewpoints,” McEnany told reporters during a press briefing.

McEnany said she spoke to Trump specifically about his decision to hire John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet Many Democrats want John Bolton's testimony, but Pelosi stays mum Trump envoy says US ready to talk to North Korea but rebukes Pyongyang counterpart MORE, his former national security adviser who penned a forthcoming book that offers a scathing picture of the White House. McEnany said Trump told her he likes “to counterbalance my own opinion with individuals who oftentimes have the very opposite opinion of my own.”

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“He likes the model of having a ‘team of rivals’ like what we saw in President Lincoln’s administration,” McEnany continued. “I’ve been a part of that. I often see rigorous debate and the president uses his gut and makes the best decision how to move forward.”

Trump has regularly lashed out at former White House aides and Cabinet members, particularly those who have publicly criticized him following their exits. This week he repeatedly lambasted Bolton after excerpts of his book were reported by news outlets, dismissing him as a “liar,” a “disgruntled boring fool” and “incompetent.”

McEnany was asked why Trump hires people he views as “dumb as a rock,” “overrated,” “way over their heads,” “wacko” and “incompetent” — phrases he has used to describe Bolton or other former officials including former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet How the US could respond to Russia's support of the Taliban Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report MORE and former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump flails as audience dwindles and ratings plummet Budowsky: Biden-Duckworth would be America's team Trump insulted UK's May, called Germany's Merkel 'stupid' in calls: report MORE.

McEnany said Bolton had proven those labels to be “particularly true,” noting he praised the president during his time working in the White House before turning to criticize Trump in his memoir, “The Room Where It Happened.”

The Justice Department is currently suing to block the release of the book, arguing it contains classified information. The book, a copy of which was obtained by The Hill, describes a deeply dysfunctional White House and portrays Trump as "stunningly uninformed."  

Speaking on CNN earlier Friday, former acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says | Supreme Court rules that large swath of Oklahoma belongs to Native American tribe WH pushed for 'correction' to Weather Service tweet contradicting Trump in 'Sharpiegate' incident, watchdog says  Mulvaney: Trump faces difficulty if 2020 election becomes 'referendum' on him MORE said Trump “didn’t hire very well” when asked about criticism from Bolton and other former officials.

“He did not have experience in running government and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him,” said Mulvaney, who also served as the director of Trump's Office of Management and Budget and has since been appointed as his special envoy for Northern Ireland.