Olympus Has Fallen
Welcome to start of year two of the abortion that is the Trump Presidency. While we never had a lot of faith that Trump’s hiring prowess would pan out we at least thought he would get a core of mediocre people to mitigate the damage of his own bad impulses. If that was ever the case it’s a distant memory now.
Right now a confluence of events has us living with an Executive Branch too chaotic and arbitrary to be called anything but Ad-hoc.
This past week was more chaotic than most. It saw an overdue end to Temporary Security clearances for the dozens of White House staffers who couldn’t obtain ACTUAL Top Secret Clearance.
Among the casualties are the presidents shady son-in-law Jared Kushner and maybe his wife Princess Ivanka too. In fact both the Kushner’s are almost daily the subject of more revelations of shifty deals and questionable ties.
The Kushner’s seemingly are now about on par with an army lieutenant in the kind of secret information they would be allowed to see. In other words- damn near nothing. CNN reported that even the White House Calligrapher now has higher security clearance than Kushner. That’s just humiliating and validates the litany of critics who have called him unfit to serve.
If theres any good news no one expected them to accomplish much. In Kushner’s case the idea he would share information with anyone for a few bucks figures deeply in. Good luck as Mideast Peace Envoy (with less clearance than your driver now) Jared.
The idea that Trump could just reverse himself and simply restore the security clearances of these risky people is in the mix too. And of course all of this is out the window if Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly quits or gets fired.
It’s that chaotic. And its not like this Administration ever enjoyed any kind of acceptance from the public.
The Birth of Dysfunctional Adhocracy
I’m calling whats going on right now A Dysfunctional Adhocracy. Rather than streamlined and tailored to handle any given crisis; this administration, through indifference and nepotism, ended up being a vain and incompetent soap opera of blameshifting lies and firings. Also- it’s governing by whim (and tantrum) and is more or less completely spur of the moment. Right now America’s policies are unplanned assertions from the president and nothing more.
It’s Ad-Hoc in all the worst senses of the word.
Yet another, not to be forgotten, part of the chaos is a desperate Trump kicking the can one day at a time to stay head the Mueller Probe.
The part where everyone keeps getting fired dovetails with an always laissez faire ( and often transactional) hiring policy that knew no urgency and started out behind.
Trump’s Campaign was perhaps the smallest (and shiftiest) in History. For instance; their so-called ‘coffee boy’ was also a liasion to the governments of Australia and Greece. It relied on Force Enhancers like Dark Money and cyber crimes from sources like the NRA and the Russians. The smallest campaign bred the smallest transition. No urgency was ever felt by anyone to have a fully staffed White House that could hit the ground running. That gap was never addressed and the Trump White House always lagged behind and kept on fading.
There’s no one to review policy, there’s no one to write up talking points and there’s no larger discussions of hard facts by highly informed people (if that ever even happened). There’s just a random collection of people best described as ‘yet to be fired’.
Typical of the leftover weirdo survivors would be someone like crazed, angry bigot Stephen Miller. Unqualified and uninformed; they’re just manipulating a president who never really had any ideas, just angry inclinations.
Its ad-hoc and in no way thought out. It’s also dangerous as all Hell.
Which brings us to the precipice of doom otherwise referred to as ‘now’.
The result of all this outright chaos and havoc is that not only are they desperately short
handed. They also have had to shift people from job to job in dizzying fashion. Predictably, work didn’t get done. Look at a poorly thought out and immediately shredded bad idea like the first attempt at a Travel Ban as proof of this . And it happened in every way possible. Unqualified people like Betsy DeVos bought their way in and others still just plain old walked in and convinced Trump to hire them based on being early loyalists like General Flynn. DeVos, the only one of the two not currently facing jail time, is the most unpopular secretary of education ever and the first to need a robust security detail. And she’s the success story.The cavalcade of defections, firings and resignations under a cloud has been unrelenting since General Flynn was forced out (and is now looking at jail time) after 24 days in his National Security Adviser gig. Right now it’s civilian hating General Kelly, HR Puffin’ Stuff McMaster, Jared, Ivanka, Ben Carson and Attorney General Sessions who are on the griddle or looking to flee.
In Kelly’s case he just can’t stop talking about how it was a fluke his closest adviser (and most important hire) was a serial wife beater (Rob Porter). It’s crazy but true that right now a really unqualified person or an outright racist who merely hasn’t committed any crimes that might embarrass the administration is a commodity, even if they’re also plain stupid. Miller again comes to mind.
Complicating everything is the Third Tier losers who were willing to work with Trump to begin with. Unsurprisingly most of them have led such shady lives that the idea they will ever be cleared to look at secret material on a permanent basis is not merely Utopian, its straight up delusional.
How troubled, unstable and incompetent are the president’s hand-picked staff? As I write this HUD Secretary and dim bulb brain slicer Ben Carson, is fighting off criticism of a 30 thousand dollar table and other hard to fathom wastes of cash. It’s actually a typical issue for “the Dumbest and the Dimmest” cabinet and department secretaries of this administration. If Carson gets fired for it (or has to resign) he would be in good company among wife beaters, tax cheats, suspected foreign agents and luxury plane ride aficionado’s who’ve been chased from office already.
Winging It from Tantrum to Tantrum
So here’s how I see it right now – It’s Government by Ad Hoc Tantrums. What were once Frequent Ill Advised Comments have now degraded to Frequent Unadvised Comments.
An isolated and irritable president bereft of staff and loathe to work is free-styling his way through every situation. NBC in particular provides a public service detailing some of his insanity in a great political blog post by Stephanie Ruhle and Peter Alexander you might just want to check out.
Since this went live – The Rachel Maddow Show chronicled the intense Human Resources disaster in a lengthy piece on March 6th and New York Senator Chuck Schumer just plain said there’s no Executive Branch staff to do even the most basic tasks in one of several stories on White House Chaos that aired or blogged by CNN the next day.
Whacked out statements that don’t consider anything beyond the immediate and the moment litter the recent weeks. The last two weeks have been perhaps the worst of his poorly regarded presidency as far as terribly ignorant statements. The presidents increasingly angry and bizarre behavior reaffirmed his lack of any decency, civility or any character.
Among the low-lights; All over the map statements on gun control with only the unpopular and outright ridiculed Armed Teachers concept as his True North. Then there was a whimsical statement about wanting a trade war over metal imports; a hypothetical story of how he would have confronted a gunman and stopped a massacre were only he there to intercede. Then he pondered the Death Penalty for drug dealers. Throw in a bunch angry delusional tweets and caustic that were uninformed or untrue. All of this seems more desperate and angry than even similar outbursts in the recent past. He’s basically the guy who scared the Hell out of those poor Boy Scouts all the time now.
Americans took notice and Trump’s approval ratings, which had recently rallied up to 40% per Gallup, returned to the 35% he’s lived at from the very first months of his presidency.
It’s unclear if any president existed at approval ratings so low for so long. We’re talking End Time For Nixon level. Apparently the only way to run a country that way is to freak out and throw tantrums between delusional lies.
Storytime is Over
I’ve had a lot to say about Trumps repeated problems reading a teleprompter and other signs he can only sort of read. It’s not hard to find references to it in things like the Fire and Fury book or in comments from staffers, former employees and what friends he has. Trump was never big on reading and at 72 he’s not going to change now.
Many said the reading averse president depended on Hicks especially to read things to him (after she read and summarized them to bullet points). Kushner probably didn’t so much read to Trump as handle a bunch of stuff Trump didn’t want to read or hear about at all and just have happen (like Middle East peace).
For Hicks, if not Jared, it seems the job also involved listening to or being the subject of the bosses rantings and tantrums over any gven topic at any given moment.
They’re not going to be able to provide that for him anymore.
You’d imagine losing Hope Hicks, a woman whose last 2
relationships have been with guys who verifiably rough up women, removes that last human punching bag he really has to blame and vent at. I’m not sure what a 28 years old one time aspiring model adds to the president’s staff except maybe “designated person to get screamed at”, “messenger to be killed” and “Official Re-Assure-er”.
Is Trump taking in ANY information with the people who seem to have the job of reading for him iced out or gone? Whose giving him bad news and lying for him now?
Maybe no one.
The crazy assertion about putting a protectionist tariff on metal imports was not part of a prepared set of remarks. Nor was it the result of research into the current situation in metal trade. Nor was it the result of something as cursory as checking out the guests at the trade forum where Trump blurted out the Tariff idea.
Was he influenced by someone? He does tend to agree with the last person he speaks to. Whatever caused him to just up and say it, the comment immediately sent the Stock Market plunging 500 points despite daylong efforts by whoever is left at the White House to defuse and / or walk back the remarks.
No One Can Be Fired
Which brings us to another problem; right now no one can really be fired. Unleashing a round of firings to shake things up is actually a tried and true way to right a troubled presidency and we’ve seen guys pull it off in the past. That method is just not available when you’re also running the least transparent, most dishonest and secretive administration in history.
That’s right, the White House Human Resources merry-go-round has built up so much centrifugal force that its throwing people off every few days. It’s created an environment where the word Chaos is being used in every paragraph. Attorney General Sessions and Secretary of State Tillerson are just two people Trump absolutely despises who can’t be fired simply because there’s been nothing but tumult since day one. There’s so much staff upheaval that even firing openly frustrated serial Trump trasher Tillerson would just turbocharge the now constant “White House Down” stories that are further inhibiting an already foundering presidency.
And then there’s also the embarrassing racial component to the White House’s make-up. Overwhelmingly make and white. The fact is this administration shed half its African Americans just by firing Omarosa So Ben Carson may be safe no matter how many thirty thousand dollar furniture projects he undertakes. ANd he’s just one person they can’t fire.
What does all this say about Trump, a guy who sold himself as a great ‘Hiring Master” and excellent judge of business acumen? It sure looks like he is the kind of fool who would buy the Brooklyn Bridge from the same con man every few days thinking somehow this time would be different.
The weakness has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world.
Crucial Everyday Tasks Neglected
Looking weak because so many people had to be let go is a real issue but another problem, just as bad is complicating things even more. Simply put- There’s just no one to do any of the important jobs it takes to keep a president on point and out of useless rhetorical problems and fights. Right now the White House is so understaffed and in such turmoil that the mundane has become potentially disastrous. Just a trade conference over metal imports kneecaps the stock market over what amounts to Trump spitballing ideas. This isn’t supposed to happen. A normal White House would have given him some safe talking points, vetted the people coming and maybe not have some of the wildest people at the meeting so they couldn’t influence “Stand for Nothing/ Fall for Everything” Trump to, for instance, blurt out a destructive comment someone fed to him, like a tariff on metal.
“Angry and Unglued” were the terms sources used to describe the president as he just up and said a bunch of damaging things on trade. NBC actually got deep into the nuts and bolts of how dysfunctional and understaffed the White House has become. It’s so bad that the day during the War of 1812 when a bunch of drunken Canadian’s torched the Executive Mansion is now a distant second (and fading) on the list of Awful Days at the White House.
A Dangerous Phase with No End in Sight
I’m not so sure this dangerous phase ever ends. Trump may serve whatever time he has left just throwing ideas against the wall. This would be bad no matter who was doing it, but this is Trump. He can’t admit he’s wrong. Just look at his now near daily insistence Gun Free School Zone be eliminated and Teachers armed. There’s literally no one outside the NRA (who were that last people he talked to before he started blurting out the Armed Teacher thing) who thinks this is a good idea. It would sell more guns and that’s all the NRA cares about. No matter the universal mockery of this moronic idea Trump wont back down. He said it once and therefore it has to be repeated and eventually some sort of Executive Order will get signed at his extra small correspondence desk at a photo-op.
Hold on tight, it’s gonna be bumpy.