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We are, I Would Note Again, at the Start of Week 4

Via Politico:  Trump reviews top White House staff after tumultuous start

President Donald Trump, frustrated over his administration’s rocky start, is complaining to friends and allies about some of his most senior aides — leading to questions about whether he is mulling an early staff shakeup.

Trump has told several people that he is particularly displeased with national security adviser Michael Flynn over reports that he had top-secret discussions with Russian officials about and lied about it. The president, who spent part of the weekend dealing with the Flynn controversy, has been alarmed by reports from top aides that they don’t trust Flynn. “He thinks he’s a problem,” said one person familiar with the president’s thinking. “I would be worried if I was General Flynn.”

I can’t decide which thought should dominate:  that we are just over three weeks into this administration and we are already talking about shake-ups, or that it is was blatantly obvious from the word go that Flynn was a terrible choice.  I think I will go with the latter, insofar as it confirms why the former is happening.

While Trump is unlikely to make any immediate staff moves, senior administration officials say, he has ramped up his contact with people he trusts outside the White House and has expressed concerns about how things are going. The president is turning to longtime New York friends like investor Stephen Schwarzman for advice and is relying more on Cohn, who worked at Goldman Sachs before joining the Trump team.

“He only asks you a lot of questions when he’s unhappy,” one person who recently talked to Trump and knows him well said. “If he thinks things are going well, he just tells you how well it’s going.”

“There will definitely be a change by the end of the summer, if not sooner,” this person added.

This weekend, Trump had at a 30-minute meeting at his Mar-a-Lago resort with Chris Ruddy, a longtime friend who is chief executive of Newsmax, a conservative website.

Ruddy, who discussed an array of topics with Trump as he sipped whiskey and the president drank Diet Coke, said changes could be afoot. “He’s always been successful and had strong people around him, and he’s in the process of figuring out who those people are,” he said.

Also, seriously?

If there is a single issue where the president feels his aides have let him down, it was the controversial executive order on immigration. The president has complained to at least one person about “how his people didn’t give him good advice” on rolling out the travel ban and that he should have waited to sign it instead of “rushing it like they wanted me to.” Trump has also wondered why he didn’t have a legal team in place to defend it from challenges.

Funny, but so far the businessman with all the best, most tremendous people thing is not working out.

White House aides say it can be hard to know what will make Trump happy, or what will anger him.

Charming.

The whole piece is worth a read.

I will say this:  this is supposed to be the Honeymoon phase…

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Trump has also wondered why he didn’t have a legal team in place to defend it from challenges.

    Wait a minute. He’s the ‘real world’ executive/CEO and he’s wondering why he didn’t have a legal team in place? Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  2. Pch101 says:

    I can see how this scenario played out:

    -Trump, Bannon or some other member of Trump’s brainless trust gives a stupid order

    -The underlings may know that it’s a stupid order, but they attempt to carry it out to their best of their abilities

    -But since it’s a stupid order, it fails

    This is going to happen often because there won’t be many who will have the courage to correct their superiors before the fact, particularly when their superiors are autocratic. In these kinds of organizations, being a lackey is a survival skill.

    Trump may have brought this business skills to the White House, after all. Which is unfortunate.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  3. Joe says:

    Trump has also wondered why he didn’t have a legal team in place to defend it from challenges.

    Exactly! If Trump actually wondered this aloud, I actually gain a tiny amount of respect for him (and I will deny I ever said that). Every brief should have been pre-written so the Administration controlled the timing and the argument, and so that every finding and issue those briefs needed to succeed were in the EO, cause it just might be challenged. That’s appellate preparation 101.

    Basic planning 1/Trump/Bannon/Miller 0

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. An Interested Party says:

    …this is supposed to be the Honeymoon phase…

    Well, considering who the groom was at the wedding, none of this is surprising…the question is: when will the bride demand an annulment…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. Swami Bluster says:

    Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 21:33
    The buck will never stop at President Pud’s Oval Office and the heat will never reach his kitchen.
    He is appointing these charlatans so there will be someone else to blame when proposed policies fail and we are up to our asses in alligators.
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/oops-hes-doing-it-again/

    The president has complained to at least one person about “how his people didn’t give him good advice” on rolling out the travel ban and that he should have waited to sign it instead of “rushing it like they wanted me to.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. rachel says:

    The president has complained to at least one person about “how his people didn’t give him good advice” on rolling out the travel ban and that he should have waited to sign it instead of “rushing it like they wanted me to.”

    A poor workman blames his tools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  7. Trump has no political experience. And that counts a lot. He has far less political experience than other Presidents that faced problems due to lack of political experience. Imagine Carter without his experience as Governor of at that time a small Southern State.

    His business experience is also a lie. He is a celebrity, not a a business person. I always saw him in the celebrity´s sections of magazines, not in the business section.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump has only managed to attract third-stringers to his administration. That’s not going to change for the better; today it’s going to be worse than it was 3-1/2 weeks ago. Trump has shown himself to be both wildly incompetent and extremely delusional. What kind of person would sign onto this dumpster fire? JKB, Guarneri, Jack…as national security director? Good luck…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    “White House aides say it can be hard to know what will make Trump happy, or what will anger him.”

    Simple. You preface anything you tell him by reiterating how brilliant he is, how beloved he is, how sexually compelling he is, and how he would have won the popular vote by a landslide if ten million illegals hadn’t voted in New Hampshire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. gVOR08 says:

    Over at Balloon Juice they note that so far Trump has signed two bills: the first waived a requirement so Mattis could be Sec O’Defense and the other was a two page technical correction for the GAO. They quote a tweet pointing out that at 24 days Obama had signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act, enacted SCHIP expansion, and passed a stimulus bill.

    I’d comment on GOP ineptitude, but right now their incompetence is our friend.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  11. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The other thing that strikes me about this is that Trump is clearly blaming those around him for his own short-comings. Classic behavior for someone as insecure and as incompetent as Trump.
    I’m telling you now that when the shit really hits the fan…and it will very soon…it’s going to be everyone’s fault but Trump’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    @rachel:

    A poor workman blames his tools.

    o/~ Join the John Birch Society, help us fill the ranks
    To get this movement started we need lots of tools and cranks o/~

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. CSK says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Oh, absolutely. And the interesting/pathetic part of it is that Trump’s fans will be even quicker to blame his staff than Trump will.

    It will be amusing to see how they square that with Trump’s claim that he always hires the best people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  14. Pete S says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Trump has only managed to attract third-stringers to his administration. That’s not going to change for the better; today it’s going to be worse than it was 3-1/2 weeks ago.

    That is the real problem here. He does not have the people around him, or the knowledge himself, to actually make anything better.

    I can just picture Flynn, when the seemingly inevitable firing happens, doing a facepalm and saying “Out of this freak show how I am the one who got kicked out?” Staggeringly incompetent, blindingly dishonest, dangerously gullible and he is still one of the president’s best advisers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. CSK says:

    If it’s true that Kellyanne Conway is gunning for Steve Bannon’s job, things could get very interesting very fast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Facebones says:

    @rachel:

    A poor workman blames his tools.

    “Tools” is a very apt description.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: As you wrote in an earlier post, “a bunch of low-rent Borgias.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Pete S:

    Staggeringly incompetent, blindingly dishonest, dangerously gullible and he is still one of the president’s best advisers the president.

    FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Trump has also wondered why he didn’t have a legal team in place to defend it from challenges.

    WTF?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    I can’t wait for them to drag out the poison-filled rings and start doctoring one another’s drinks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Just for reference…4 weeks in and Obama had signed the The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act – saving the American economy from a death spiral. Trump…has he signed any legislation of note?
    Obama hit the ground running; he had used his campaign to sketch out a detailed policy agenda, staffed his administration with veteran operatives who knew how to run the government, and used the transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day to coordinate with Congress on proposals they could enact quickly.
    Trump…not so much. I love the new name…Mango Mussolini…but I don’t think Trump can keep the trains running on time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    and used the transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day to coordinate with Congress

    To be fair, Trump used the transition period to coordinate with Russia.

    I’m still going with Il Douche.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  23. Barry says:

    @CSK: “If it’s true that Kellyanne Conway is gunning for Steve Bannon’s job, things could get very interesting very fast.”

    From your lips to God’s ears. The more knife fights in the WH, the happier the rest of us will be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. ptfe says:

    Eagerly anticipating the follow-up for Week 5 — in hindsight, Week 4 was rather tame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0