At a certain point, President Trump may have to admit to himself that several consecutive bad weeks — the latest one involving his loose lips with Israeli intel while bragging with Russians in the Oval Office — will add up to a less-than-optimal administration. This is the sort-of conclusion that he’s coming to, according a New York Times gathering of insiders’ glimpses inside his White House fury, but Trump sees no fault of his own. One advisor even revealed how, in recent weeks, Trump has reportedly referred to “most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner” as “incompetent.”
Such a perspective would not be surprising for a mogul and reality star who has always been able to simply “fire” anyone and insert a replacement. Yet there are no season finales to tie things together in the White House, and Trump’s lapses of judgment will have real-life, global consequences. Perhaps this is why, as the NY TImes revealed, new National Security Advisor General McMaster has heavily participated in Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders and diplomats. He’s said to “insert caveats or gentle corrections” when Trump wades into sketchy territory, and that’s not all. Trump is reportedly angered by these interjections and misses Michael Flynn, who he regrets firing:
There is a fear among some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers about leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn. General McMaster, in particular, has tried to insert caveats or gentle corrections into conversations when he believes the president is straying off topic or onto boggy diplomatic ground.
This has, at times, chafed the president, according to two officials with knowledge of the situation. Mr. Trump, who still openly laments having to dismiss his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, has groused that General McMaster talks too much in meetings, and the president has referred to him as “a pain.”
Yep, McMaster has defended Trump multiple times over the latest Russia mess, and Trump apparently thinks he is “a pain” because McMaster’s trying to ward off diplomatic disasters like we’re seeing today. This goes along with the Daily Beast’s previous report that White House attorneys have warned Trump multiple times not to contact Flynn — the same hire that Sean Spicer blamed Obama for — who wasn’t so bossy.
As for McMaster’s assertion that Trump didn’t even realize the source of the classified information that he was spilling to the Russians, the NY Times backs that claim up, but it’s not good news:
In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling — and honest — defense of the president: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would do harm to United States allies.
There’s only one word to describe the above paragraph — brutal.