White House or Animal House

Reince Priebus just completed the shortest term as White House Chief of Staff in history. It was a rocky road from the beginning and within two months anyone watching the situation could see this coming. Trump selected Priebus as a sop to the establishment of the Republican Party. He was not part of the Trump team and never got along with some of the ideologues that populate the White House.  

In the end it was unavoidable and will be better for Priebus to leave and hopefully his replacement, John Kelly, can bring some sort of order to a White House that is beginning to look like the movie “Animal House.”   When Trump brought in Scaramucci it was the writing on the wall for Priebus. This was not his hire and I am sure he opposed it. It drove Sean Spicer to resign and I suspect there are more changes to follow. Trump seems unwilling to make the changes that he needs to make and so the frat boy atmosphere will continue for the time being.

The problem for Trump, in my opinion, is he never really expected to win the Presidential election and when he did he was woefully unprepared to assume the role. He brought in a disparate group to help him and they were at war with each other from the start and it continues even today. I believe the he needs to shake up the staff but the suggestions I would make would more than likely fall on deaf ears.

First, Steve Bannon, Steve Miller and Kellyanne Conway should be told to submit resignations and move back to the private sector. They have become major distractions and have no experience in how to actually make the government run. They are all lightening rods for political opponents and seem to be engaging in a struggle for power within the White House. They won versus Priebus but might find Kelly a more formidable foe. At the very least Kelly should have the power to request those resignations?

Second, and this one is much more difficult. Jared and Ivanak Kushner should be told that they are missed in New York and their talents would be better served in New York. I am not trying to diminish either of them.   I think both are intelligent and competent people but having your daughter and son-in-law as two of your closest advisors does not pass the political optics test. When Ivanka sat in President Trump’s chair at the G20 meeting it became fodder for the President’s opponents. Jared has become ensnared in the Russia investigation and obviously will be under a lot of pressure.

Before I move off the Russian issue I want to comment on what is now playing out. Today Putin ejected 775 U.S. embassy personnel from Russia. This was in response to the new sanctions placed on Russia as passed by the Congress and signed by the President. It becomes clear to me that Russia felt Trump would be easier to manipulate than Clinton, coupled with Putin’s intense hatred of Hillary Clinton, and any meddling they did was to ensure she lost more than Trump winning. But Trump has turned out to be a thorn in the side of Putin and I am sure he is getting a big perturbed by this turn of events.

As the President Trump also needs to stop with the criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Attorney General is not the personal lawyer of the President but rather the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and Trump was angered as he felt Sessions should have managed the investigation and been his firewall against independent counsel Mueller. I have to believe the he would like Sessions to resign so the can appoint someone who will supervise the investigation and protect him. That is not how it works.

I would be remiss if I let the Democrats off the hook. There is not doubt that the Trump administration looks foolish at times and fully unprepared to assume the reigns of government. But the Democrats are in full obstruction mode and they are slowing down everything. That means Executive Branch appointment, judicial appointments and even the most mundane pieces of legislation. They are creating a toxic environment in the Senate and one they will rue the day they engaged in this practice should they ever regain the White House or the Senate Majority. Does Chuck Schumer think he can stall out all of this for four years?

In summary, Mr. President get your White House in order. Give Gen. John Kelly the authority to make any changes he deems necessary. Chuck Schumer, quit objecting to everything and start confirming people to the positions they were nominated. And finally, once again, please Mr. President, put down the phone and quite tweeting. That is not how you run a government .

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