Friday's HOT MIC
President Trump seems to thrive on chaos. The rest of the White House, maybe not so much.
Three headlines to three different stories -- all telling pretty much the same tale.
The first one comes from the New York Times, which is always eager to show the downside of any Republican administration. With that in mind, I've selected a part of the story which is "Just the facts, ma'am" stuff from the public record.
The dysfunction was on vivid display on Thursday in the president’s introduction of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The previous day, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, warned the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, that he might resign if the president went ahead with the plan, according to people briefed on the discussion. Mr. Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, had lobbied fiercely against the measures.
His threat to leave came during a tumultuous week in which Mr. Trump suffered the departure of his closest aide, Hope Hicks, and the effective demotion of his senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was stripped of his top-secret security clearance. Mr. Trump was forced to deny, through an aide, that he was about to fire his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster.
Mr. Kelly summed up the prevailing mood in the West Wing. “God punished me,” he joked of his move from the Department of Homeland Security to the White House during a discussion to mark the department’s 15th anniversary.
When White House aides arrived at work on Thursday, they had no clear idea of what Mr. Trump would say about trade.
Call it dysfunction, call it Trump's management style, but it's usually worked for him. But that's in the comparatively slow-moving and low-stress worlds of TV production and real estate development. The White House operates at an entirely different level, and even smooth-running administrations chew people up and spit them out at an unsettling pace.
Maybe Trump can keep operating like this for another three or seven years -- he really does seem to thrive on it. But today's stories are almost enough to make you wonder if he's going to end up having to run the whole operation by himself.