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

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 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 BoltonJohn Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Bolton: North Korea 'more dangerous now' Demand for Trump-related titles sparks expected record year for political books 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 TillersonOcasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Gary Cohn: 'I haven't made up my mind' on vote for president in November Kushner says 'Alice in Wonderland' describes Trump presidency: Woodward book MORE and former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisNearly 300 more former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies 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 MulvaneyTrump says he may lower corporate tax rate to 20 percent if reelected Is Social Security safe from the courts? On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security 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.