We are, I Would Note Again, at the Start of Week 4
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.
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.
The whole piece is worth a read.
I will say this: this is supposed to be the Honeymoon phase…