Amidst Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ formal recusal from any and all investigations into the White House’s alleged Russian ties, and the blowback resulting from Donald Trump’s outrageous wiretapping claims, the president isn’t having a great time. Hence why he supposedly lashed out at his staff before leaving Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus, his chief strategist and chief of staff, behind in Washington before escaping to Florida. Despite his latest Mar-a-Lago getaway, however, it seems the president’s volatile and unpredictable demeanor is rubbing off on the White House at large.
So much, in fact, that a new report out of Politico suggests Priebus — and not the president himself — is receiving most of the blame for the White House’s problems. Following over a dozen interviews with anonymous Trump allies and staffers at various levels of the current food chain, the story paints a rather unflattering portrait of a “micro-manager who sprints from one West Wing meeting to another, inserting himself into conversations big and small” and seemingly preventing others from access to the president.
“There’s a real frustration among many — including from the president — that things aren’t going as smoothly as one had hoped,” one of the interviewees told Politico, adding: “Reince, fairly or not, is likely to take the blame and take the fault for that.” Others weren’t as kind, telling the outlet Priebus’ “sheer incompetence” was to blame for the perceived “lack of management, and… strategy.”
Despite these comments, however, the White House unsurprisingly pushed back when Politico reached out for comment. Senior Advisor Jared Kushner said Priebus “continues to be a strong and effective leader,” while Bannon assured critics they were “implementing President Trump’s agenda in record time and fulfilling one campaign promise after another.” Which, the former Breitbart executive and real-life best friend of Priebus argued, “shows you what a great job Reince is doing.”
Though unconfirmed, Politico’s latest story about Priebus’ performance in the White House isn’t the first time the former Republican National Committee chairman has come under fire at his new job. Trump has reportedly expressed disappointment with his staff, including Priebus and Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and with former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation and Sessions’ recusal, perhaps more dominoes will fall. Who knows? Maybe David Letterman will get a few of those desired interviews after all.