Posted by: maboulette | May 16, 2017

Reactions around The White House with Trump’s Frustrations


Trump frustration

After four months in office, President Trump has become mistrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime advisers, and uncompromising about the White House’s attempts to suppress the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russia investigations only seem to add more fuel.

FRUSTRATIONS

Trump’s frustrations came to a head this week with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia’s election meddling. Fearful that his own team would leak the decision, Trump kept key staff in the dark as he considered the dramatic move.

COMMUNICATION STAFF

The communications staff charged with explaining the decision to the American people had an hour’s notice. Chief strategist Steve Bannon learned on television, according to three White House officials, though a person close to Bannon disputed that characterization.

DEFENSE FAILED

When the White House’s defense of the move failed to meet his ever-changing expectations, Trump tried to take over himself. But he wound up creating new problems for the White House, including with an apparent threat to Comey.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

BOUTS OF CHAOS

For a White House accustomed to bouts of chaos, Trump’s handling of Comey’s firing could have serious and long-lasting consequences. Already Trump’s decision appears to have bolstered the Senate intelligence committee investigating into Russia’s election interference and the president’s associates, with lawmakers announcing a subpoena for former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey’s allies also quickly made clear they would defend him against attacks from Trump, including quarrel over the president’s statement that Comey told Trump he was not personally under investigation.

CLOSE TO TRUMP

Several people close to the president say his reliance on a small team of advisers as he considered firing Comey reflects his broader distrust of many of his own staffers. He leans heavily on daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Hope Hicks, his trusted campaign spokeswoman and Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

CONFIDANTS

Trump confidants say Bannon has been downgraded on major decisions, including Comey’s firing, after clashing with Kushner. And while Trump praised chief of staff Reince Priebus after the House passed a health care bill last week, associates say the president has continued to raise occasional questions about Priebus’ leadership in the West Wing. Still, Priebus was among the tight circle of staffers Trump consulted about Comey’s firing.

OUT OF SIGHT

Trump spent most of the week out of sight, a change from a typically jam-packed schedule that often includes multiple on-camera events per day. Even when aides moved ahead on an executive order creating a voter fraud commission — a presidential pet project that some advisers thought they had successfully shelved — Trump signed the directive in private.

LACK OF MOMENTUM OR LEAKS

More than a lack of momentum on major policy goals, Trump is said to be seething over the flood of leaks pouring out of the White House and into news reports. He’s viewed even senior advisers questionably, including Bannon and Priebus, when stories about internal White House drama land in the press.

CONDITION OF ANONYMITY

A dozen White House officials and others close to Trump detailed the president’s decision-making and his mood on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations and deliberations.

AFTER DECISION

After Trump decided to fire Comey, he was told by aides that Democrats would likely react positively to the news given the role many believe Comey played in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. When the opposite happened, Trump grew infuriated — both at Democrats and his own communications staff for not quickly lining up more Republicans to defend him on television.

TRUMP’S IRE

Much of Trump’s ire has been engrossed on the communications team, all of whom were caught off guard by Comey’s removal. He increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson, according to many people who have spoken with him. By week’s end, he was pensive about cutting back on the White House’s televised press briefings.

TWO OFFICIALS

Two White House officials said some of Trump’s frustration centers on what he views as coverage that is unfair of his decisions and overly harsh criticism of press secretary Sean Spicer, as well as deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, who led much of the response to Comey’s firing. Aides said Trump does not believe his team gave contradictory stories about his decision to fire Comey, in spite of the fact that the White House’s explanation changed intensely over a 48-hour period.

INITIALLY

The White House at first said Trump was obliged to fire Comey by a critical memo from the deputy attorney general on the director’s handling of last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email. Aides later said the president had been considering firing Comey for months, and Trump said he would have made the decision irrespective of the Justice Department recommendation.

“The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don’t get a team around that gets it organized,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump ally. “He’s a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line.”

EXPANDING COMMUNICATIONS

Trump is considering expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.

WHITE HOUSE OFFICALS

Officials White House had hoped last week’s House vote would give the president a much-needed burst of momentum and permeate new energy into efforts to fully overhaul the “Obamacare” health law and pass a massive tax reform package. Aides were also eager for Trump’s first foreign trip, a high-stakes blitz through the Middle East and Europe.

BLOWBACK

But the blowback from Comey’s firing left the White House spinning once again. Trump’s anger was visible and erratic tweets prompted a reporter to ask Spicer on Friday if the president was “out of control.”

“That’s, frankly, offensive,” Spicer said.

 

 

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