The intrigue, fighting, scheming and backstabbing within the Trump administration just three weeks in is starting to smell like the war of the roses.
After causing Vice President Pence to lie to the press and public about Flynn’s contact with Russia, Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn seems to be trying rather desperately to repair his relationship Pence.
“A senior administration official said Flynn and Pence spoke in person Friday morning and by phone in the evening,” the Washington Post. “National security adviser Michael Flynn spoke privately with Vice President Pence on Friday in an apparent attempt to contain the fallout from the disclosure that Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with that country’s ambassador and then allowed Pence and other White House officials to publicly deny that he had done so, an administration official said.”
So that’s awkward.
Within hours of a top aide to President Trump’s National Security adviser (NSA) being denied security clearance by the CIA, reports surfaced contradicting the Trump administration’s denials that Trump’s NSA Michael Flynn had discussed Russian sanctions during the campaign or transition.
Vice President Pence’s comments denying that Flynn had done exactly what intelligence reports say Flynn did were based on Pence’s conversations with General Flynn, according to an administration official quoted in a report sent to PoliticusUSA Friday morning.
Flynn can’t possibly make things right with Pence after causing the Vice President to lie to the American public, especially over such an explosive charge. This could be seen as the war between the establishment and the anarchist conspiracy wing of the Republican Party, but the establishment isn’t exactly denouncing Trump’s Russia smoke so perhaps that is too generous.
Jostling for power and position is normal in new administrations, but in the Trump administration there’s an added component of Trump’s ignorance of how things should be done and indeed what he is actually doing. Trump is also known for lashing out in anger after his own ignorance gets the better of him. If you’ve ever worked for someone like this, you know how demoralizing this might be for Trump’s staff.
The Trump power vacuum from the top had led to even more chaotic upheaval, exemplified by Donald Trump not even realizing that he signed an executive order appointing alt-right Leninist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. Upon discovering what he had signed, Trump then became angry at Bannon and asked Preibus (establishment, ostensibly opposite of the “burn the state to the ground” Bannon although it’s fair to wonder now if Republicans now stand for chaos, anarchy and undermining and destruction of law and order) to fix things so that they were done as previous administrations had done them.
This begs the question, if Donald Trump is not going to reinvent the wheel as he promised his base, why are we paying him to learn one grievous and costly error at a time what has long been taken for granted as common knowledge.
This must be what “Making America Great Again” looks like, Republican style.
Don’t let anyone tell you this is all normal. It is not normal. All new administrations have issues and a big learning curve, but they weren’t trying to “disrupt the status quo” to the extent of not believing it had anything to offer. What we have here are teenage boys who think they know more than their parents.
Trump sold himself as a tough guy in charge, but he’s more of a puppet right now. The only question is whose puppet.
We are paying in many ways for Trump’s Presidency 101 class, as the people beneath him claw and fight to fill the power vacuum left by Trump’s ignorance of the job and unwillingness to learn.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.