In the reality show that is Donald Trump's West Wing, a crucible with constant loose-lipped calumnies and can't-look-away blockbuster ratings to match, the season crested this week to the point where the key player goes so far off the rails that all the supporting cast members can do is talk (and talk, and talk) about how far gone they are. And after Trump dismissed F.B.I. director James Comey in the midst of his bureau's investigation into the president's campaign, and after Tuesday's report that Comey kept notes of a conversation in which the president asked him to take it easy on General Michael Flynn, some characters whose story lines appeared to be dwindling are now stepping back into the spotlight.
Having created a string of crises that now threaten to upend his presidency, Donald Trump is reportedly deeply frustrated with the team—Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, and even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner—who’ve failed to contain it. It is a self-immolating dynamic, and a harum-scarum rhythm that those who saw Trump through the election grew somewhat accustomed to. But as a staffer described to me, this has been particularly difficult for those who joined the administration post-election. “People who weren’t on the campaign always seem to be more stressed by this,” this person told me. As such, Trump appears to be retreating to those original campaign cast members who are more accustomed to his particular brand of chaos. As the bedlam plays on, Trump has been working with Stephen Miller, his 31-year-old senior adviser for policy, to prepare speeches for his first trip oversees as president, according to one person familiar with the planning.
Stephen Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, who had fallen out of favor within the West Wing after butting heads with Kushner, has also appeared back in the fray. One White House aide noted to me on Tuesday that Bannon, whom the aide had called “irrelevant” a week earlier, had been in meetings with the president and senior staff over the last week. He was among those shouting in Spicer’s office Monday evening, and notably, Bannon was reported to be the only one of Trump’s advisers who had strongly counseled against firing Comey and predicted the fallout. On Tuesday evening, Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s brusk initial campaign manager who helped transform him from vanity candidate to primary front-runner before being replaced, was spotted going into the White House.
The regular upheavals in Trump world are often points at which longtime confidants or campaign friends tend to return to his orbit. Chris Christie, who spent much of the primary season bashing Trump and later got axed from his position as head of the transition team, came back into the White House earlier this year to lead an opioid task force. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has circled in and out depending on Trump’s favor.
The only member of Trump’s campaign squad who appears to not be in the mix is Kellyanne Conway. While Trump and nearly every member of White House senior staff, including Miller, Bannon, Kushner, his wife, Ivanka, Chief of Staff Priebus, Spicer, economic adviser Gary Cohn, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell, spokeswoman Hope Hicks, and a handful of other members of the communications team, will pile onto Air Force One for a nine-day, five-country tour, Conway plans to stay behind. His senior counselor, who has been largely absent from public view in recent months apart from an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on the eve of Comey’s dismissal, has “a full slate of meetings” in Washington, a source familiar with the situation explained, a family wedding, and end-of-year events at her children’s schools to attend. She is also closing on a new home in D.C. this week.
Of course, it wasn't supposed to be this way. Within the White House, the previous two weeks were planned to be quiet, in preparation for the trip. Instead, they've been the most turbulent of Trump's presidency, and his staff has been left holding onto the railings for dear life. The Daily Beast reported on Monday that senior staffers were “hiding in offices” to avoid the press. Those who ventured out were “confused and squabbling,” The New York Times noted. Reporters overheard senior officials shouting so loudly after the Post story broke on Monday evening that they had to turn up the TV in Spicer’s office in order to conceal their own yelling from reporters gathered outside (a claim the White House denied). Politico quoted a White House official saying “We are kind of helpless” after the news broke on Tuesday. In a follow-up, the Daily Beast talked to a senior administration official who said, “I feel like running down the hallway with a fire extinguisher,” after the latest development.
Not only are staffers on edge about the fate of their jobs, facing a boss who the Times said has been calling even them “incompetent” and publicly undermining any public statements they may give in his defense, but they’re also finding it difficult to actually do the job of governing with all the self-inflicted crises. “It’s Impossible to get quiet time,” the staffer told me. “These two weeks were supposed to be light.”
BACK to margotbworldnews.com
Sitemap:-- Top Stories | Americas | Sports | Canada | Tribal News | M.E./Asia | Africa | Features | Business | OP–ED | Tech | Health | Travel | Physics } Science |Enviro | Paleontology / Biology | Oddly Enough | Royalty | Celebrity/Entertainment | In Case You Missed It | Features | Books, History | Culture/Life | Videos | Images |Make a Donation