Friday, July 28, 2017


While there's something to be said about last night - how the Senate at the last minute killed off the "Skinny Repeal" of Obamacare - something just as crazy happened today that needs mentioning.

Prince Rebus - ah, yeah I know, I can never get his name correct - Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff Whipping Boy to trump, got kicked out of his job this afternoon.

To the Atlantic's David A. Graham!

Priebus’s resignation is a turning point for the Trump presidency, but it’s too early to tell whether it will turn for the better or, somehow, the worse. Kelly will inherit a West Wing that has set a new standard for chaos, backstabbing, factionalism, and inefficacy. While every administration suffers from some rivalries, the poisonous atmosphere in Trump’s White House has exceeded all of them, bursting into full view Thursday evening with an explosive series of comments from Scaramucci to New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza.

Oh Lord. That interview with Lizza crossed a shit-ton of lines:

...The day closed with Lizza writing his own, devastating account of a deranged conversation he’d had with Scaramucci Wednesday night, after Lizza reported on a dinner Scaramucci had with Fox News personalities past and present. Politico had also published Scaramucci’s financial disclosure, obtained by a routine public-records request, but which Scaramucci was for some reason convinced had been leaked. (One fascinating lesson of Scaramucci’s appointment is how fast the debilitating paranoia of this White House can infect a new hire.)
Scaramucci demanded Lizza reveal his source, which he wouldn’t. “OK, I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks,” the spokesman said.
“I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly,” Scaramucci said, adding, “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

Project much, Moochie?

While Scaramucci's rant suggests Priebus' removal was tied to trump's ongoing paranoia about leaks in the West Wing, it's a given among the Beltway insiders that the Chief of Staff was a wounded duck the minute he took the job. Priebus - as a Republican Party veteran - was expected to create discipline for a president who can't be disciplined. trump has no focus, and can't be told "No" by his loyal inner circle of Yes Men and family handlers.

trump's management style is chaos: he divides his handlers into factions, each of them vying for his attention and support for whichever projects they're working on. Rather than create innovation or competition, this style creates conflict and disorder as his underlings fight for limited resources or access.

Tom Kelly, who'd been serving as Secretary for Homeland Security, is switching over to take the Chief of Staff title. But nobody - including trump - really knows if he's getting the authority that is supposed to come with that title. Where other Chief of Staffs under other Presidents served as gatekeepers - managing who got to see POTUS above all - it's unlikely Kelly will be able to stop Scaramucci, Bannon, Kushner, or Putin (no, I am not joking) from going straight to trump to get a short-term and possibly insane/illegal action committed to official paper.

This is a White House that is criminally understaffed, and staffed by people who either don't know what they're doing or don't care about the damage they can do.

This is an Executive branch malfunctioning before our eyes. There are few historical parallels - maybe Grant, maybe Harding - to the self-inflicted wreckage taking place.

We are so very royally fucked.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

So does this complete the purge of "establishment Republicans" from the West Wing? I saw someone on Chris Hayes' show last night point out that traditionally, COS was the most political position in the West Wing, and Priebus was a competent political operative, while Kelly has almost no experience in that area.
Perhaps it's turning out that president four-year-old doesn't like politics after all and is trying to move away from it?
Too late.

-Doug in Oakland