Thursday, February 16, 2017

A crush of crises all but buries the young Trump White House

Less than a month into his tenure, Donald Trump’s White House is beset by a crush of crises.

Divisions, dysfunction and high-profile exits have left the young administration nearly paralyzed and allies wondering how it will reboot. The bold policy moves that marked Trump’s first days in office have slowed to a crawl, a tacit admission that he and his team had not thoroughly prepared an agenda.

Nearly a week after the administration’s travel ban was struck down by a federal court, the White House is still struggling to regroup and outline its next move on that signature issue. It’s been six days since Trump — who promised unprecedented levels of immediate action — has announced a major new policy directive or legislative plan.

His team is riven by division and plagued by distractions. This week alone, controversy has forced out both his top national security aide and his pick for labor secretary.

“Another day in paradise,” Trump quipped Wednesday after his meeting with retailers was interrupted by reporters’ questions about links between his campaign staff and Russian officials.

Fellow Republicans have begun voicing their frustration and open anxiety that the Trump White House will derail their high hopes for legislative action.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota demanded Wednesday that the White House “get past the launch stage.”

“There are things we want to get done here, and we want to have a clear-eyed focus on our agenda, and this constant disruption and drumbeat with these questions that keep being raised is a distraction,” said Thune.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona blasted the White House’s approach to national security as “dysfunctional,” asking: “Who is in charge? I don’t know of anyone outside of the White House who knows.”

Such criticism from allies is rare during what is often viewed as a honeymoon period for a new president. But Trump, an outsider who campaigned almost as much against his party as for it, has only a tiny reservoir of good will to protect him. His administration has made uneven attempts to work closely with lawmakers and its own agencies.

Officials have begun trying to change some tactics, and some scenery, with the hope of steadying the ship. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump, who has often mentioned how much he loves adoring crowds and affirmation from his supporters, would hold a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, the first of his term.

The event, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, was being “run by the campaign” and it is listed on Trump’s largely dormant 2016 campaign website. No other details were offered.

To be sure, pinballing from one crisis to the next is not unprecedented, particularly for a White House still finding its footing. But the disruptions that have swirled around Trump achieved hurricane force early and have not let up.

On Wednesday his choice for labor secretary, fast food CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination while the administration continued to navigate the fallout from the forced resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn was ousted on the grounds that he misled the vice president about his contacts with a Russian ambassador.

Flynn’s departure marked the return of an issue Trump is not likely to move past quickly. The president’s relationship with Moscow will continue to be scrutinized and investigated, sometimes apparently fueled by leaks from within his own administration.

Trump on Wednesday blasted what he called “illegal leaked” information.

Not just leaks, but also legal woes, have derailed Trump’s early efforts.

After the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his immigration ban last week, Trump emphatically tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT!” and the administration vowed that it would re-appeal the block and either revise its original executive order or write a new one from scratch.

When the dust settled, a new statement was printed out and handed to journalists, stating, “to clarify,” that all options were on the table. But despite Trump’s vow to have a plan in place by Tuesday, one has not emerged.[...]

“He’s a one-man band for all practical purposes, it’s how he ran his business,” said Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff under Obama. “When you try to take that and everything revolves around that and he is the beginning, middle and end of everything, that is a tough model. His campaign was the same way.”

Trump’s new administration has also been plagued by ethics brushfires that are taking up the time and energy of communications and legal staff members.

In one incident that sparked bipartisan condemnation and calls for ethics investigations, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on TV that people should “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” — an endorsement that came after the president disparaged Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s fashion line. And congressional Republicans also are demanding to know more about the security measures in place at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s weekend White House, where resort members photographed him during a dinnertime national security strategy session after North Korea launched a missile.

“When you are the White House, every day is a crisis. Crisis is routine,” said Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush’s first press secretary. “But when they all come right on top of each other, particularly at the start of an administration, it starts to create the feeling that they don’t know how to run the place.”


  1. Awww. The "experts" on how to run the White House were shunned, and now they are finished pouting and have begun sniping.

    So, nu, a year ago, why didn't these geniuses rally around one candidate and get the electorate to vote in an experienced candidate with experienced advisers? Because from the electorates's perspective, many of the professional politicians and their hangers-on are only geniuses at messing up.

    Mr. Trump has an impossible job. And he's doing it impossibly well. Mr. Trump has weathered setbacks in his life. Safe money has it that he'll find get past this rough patch. And if he fails, we'll vote in someone else to try.

    Mr. Trump is what progress looks like. Succeed or fail, he is head and shoulders above the competition.

  2. Heh. You think the media would be grateful for the sudden increase in rating Trump and his friends have given them.

  3. I have listened to several news reports this morning and the top news was not the most important press conference yet in Trump's presidency. No, that was not even mentioned at all. The top news was the media promoting the immigrant's not working today, and the lady who is hiding in a church to avoid deportation. By the way, the Mexicans in my local grocery are there today and my Mexican goyta is also working today. So the lack of even a quick mention of the press conference means that they are dishonest reporters. It can also be called fake news. So you keep on posting these anti Trump articles from these fake news media. It 's not convincing.

    Trump is the most honest and trans[parent president we had since I can remember, in the sense that he is trying to do what he promised during his campaign, and in the sense that what you see is what you get. But the media is busy with his lies. They are the true liars.

    Trump stood there yesterday with Netanyahu and fearlessly spoke like a friend and spoke the truth about the situation like no president before had the courage to do, and repeated and validated what Netanyahu said that the Muslims educate to kill and destroy. No, he is not a racist. Neither is Netanyahu. This is the most major story but the dishonest media is not allowing this to be a story. They say the story is the lady who is hiding in the church. All I can say is Liars! Liars! Liars!

  4. The media not covering the stories you would like them to cover does not make it "fake news." And, by the way, the only "news" coming out of yesterday's news conference with Netanyahu, that the U.S. is open to a one-state solution, was quickly contradicted today by Trump's ambassador to the U.N.
    I like your "most honest in the sense that." Cute. A man who repeatedly tells the same bald-faced lies over and over is honest because "what you see is what you get," so you know he is a bald-faced liar.

  5. First of all HuffPost and ThinkProgress sites covered the news extensively. Perhaps, the other news networks ignored what he said because other members of his administration contradicted him. That is - from experience, what he says cannot always be believed.

    Regarding Trump's "honesty" in comparison to the past left-wing president refer to these links:

    You'll find that while Trump mostly lies, Obama was mostly lied about (slandered)!

  6. So you're telling me about HuffPost and ThinkProgress. I'm saying that the mainstream media didn't cover it. They made the main stories about silly things in order to shame Trump, but they did't cover this which is real important news. To me that discredits them. So then you refer me to some article which has a particular angle. Don't I know that there are such articles?

  7. What I would like them to cover?! That was the most important press conference yet in his presidency up until that point, and they didn't cover it! Only the lady in the church, ad nauseam. Please admit that there is something telling about that.

  8. I really don't know what you are talking about. Every website I get my news from (N.Y. Times, Washington Post, Slate, among others) covered the news conference extensively.

  9. The mainstream news media brazenly lies every day in their "news" reports.

  10. the mainstream news media brazenly tell the truth everyday.

    Where does Trump get his information from? He doesn't trust his Intelligence sources, he considers the mainstream media as "fake news" - the only thing left are the fringe publication who lacking resources simply imagine what the facts are.

    Yes the imagination and rumors are the "true" source of facts.

  11. You trust the NYT cover to cover that they don't publish anything they don't know to be true?

  12. Now it's a few days later so history can easily be rewritten. But I was appalled when I was listening to the news, on several mainstream news stations, on the morning following the conference, and all that transpired yesterday was extensively reported, from the sublime to the ridiculous, that is all except for that unimportant conference.

  13. Please stop denying the obvious. Trump has no regard for the truth. He makes up facts that make him feel good and he keeps repeating false statements long after he has been repeated told that they are lies.

    In contrast you want to know if the standard of the NY Times for covering the news and reporting the facts is vastly superior to Trump's fairy tales?!

    It is obvious what which sources is "fake news"

  14. don't know about the radio stations but it is clear that what he calls the "enemy" was clearly and extensively reporting the conference.

  15. I am talking about what those websites wrote about on the day of and the day after the news conference.

  16. Thanks for the update. Would you like to give examples of daily lies by all of those organizations in each day of their reporting?

  17. Take any days copy of the Times and you'll find lies starting from Page 1 going to the back. Same with the WaPo and the major news networks and CNN.

  18. if you are so sure they are so common - how about telling us about them?

  19. As I thought, you got nothing.

  20. Keep the Times as your Holy Bible. I'll stick to the Torah.

  21. No one is talking about keeping the Times as a "Holy Bible." You asserted that basically everything one reads in the mainstream media is false. That is total nonsense, and you are totally unable to back up your nonsense. It is true that the Times, as well as other outlets, do on occasion make errors. But when they do, they correct them (see the report about the MLK Jr. bust in the White House). And those errors are few and far between.


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