President Donald Trump’s first few days in office have been filled with drama and sweeping executive actions. He reignited the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and revived a block on federal funding for any non-government organization that provides abortion-related services. Busy man. The busiest president ever, perhaps, but behind the scenes, sh*t is going down.
The Washington Post reveals that the salad days of the Trump White House sound like an utter, backstabbing nightmare. To be fair, many of these staffers are accustomed to the tantrums of the Trump campaign trail (former manager Corey Lewandowski famously sent then-press secretary Hope Hicks into tears on a regular basis). Now, the Washington Post has published a dishy roundup of how the Trump White House sounds like a dish-crashing disaster. Here are some highlights.
Sean Spicer’s first (unscheduled) meltdown conference — where he blatantly lied about “crowd size” to make Trump feel better about his attending inauguration audience — went down like this:
“Trump’s advisers suggested that he could push back in a simple tweet. Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a Trump confidant and the chairman of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, offered to deliver a statement addressing the crowd size.
But Trump was adamant, aides said. Over the objections of his aides and advisers — who urged him to focus on policy and the broader goals of his presidency — the new president issued a decree: He wanted a fiery public response, and he wanted it to come from his press secretary.”
Meanwhile, Trump son-in-law (and senior adviser) Jared Kushner is rubbing everyone the wrong way as he works his behind-the-scenes mojo. He is also not a fan of Kellyanne Conway:
“Two people close to the transition also said a number of Trump’s most loyal campaign aides have been alarmed by Kushner’s efforts to elbow aside anyone he perceives as a possible threat to his role as Trump’s chief consigliere. At one point during the transition, Kushner had argued internally against giving Conway a White House role, these two people said.”
Speaking of Conway, folks wonder if her laughable defenses of Spicer are actually meant to pound him into grains of sand:
“During the campaign, Trump was suspicious of both Priebus and Spicer, who ran the Republican National Committee and were seen as more loyal to the party than to its nominee. Some privately wonder whether Conway is now trying to undermine Spicer.”
Meanwhile, the beleaguered Spicer was apparently not Trump’s first choice for White House Press Secretary, but his willingness to blatantly lie has greatly impressed his boss:
As Trump thought about staffing his administration following his surprise victory, he hesitated over selecting Spicer as White House press secretary. He did not see Spicer as particularly telegenic and preferred a woman for the position, asking Conway to do it and also considering conservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Monica Crowley — who ultimately stepped down from an administration job because of charges of plagiarism — before settling on Spicer at the urging of Priebus and others.
Yet if there was any doubt over the weekend about Spicer’s standing with the president, it seemed to have been erased by his performance Monday, at least for the moment. Trump told his senior team that he was pleased with Spicer’s more confident and relaxed turn at the lectern.
Oh, and Donald Trump really hates climbing stairs, which is a strange thing to hear about a man with a glowing bill of health:
Because Conway operates outside of the official communications department, some aides grumble that she can go rogue when she pleases, offering her own message and promoting herself as much as the president. One suggested that Conway’s office on the second floor of the West Wing, as opposed to one closer to the Oval Office, was a sign of her diminished standing. Though Conway took over the workspace previously occupied by Valerie Jarrett, who had been Obama’s closest adviser, the confidant dismissively predicted that Trump would rarely climb a flight of stairs.
No thank you. The dominoes will surely soon start to fall, for no one can withstand the pressure for too long. Conway, Hicks, and Kushner are used to this fine mess, but Spicer seems rather frazzled in his first few days. Will he be the first to vacate his position? Nah, he will probably stick around long enough to at least hammer out a memoir.
(Via Washington Post)