The dramatic breakup between Donald Trump and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has blown wide open the political direction of the Trump presidency at a particularly inopportune time.
It comes just as Trump is frantically seeking to stabilize a presidency besieged by internal chaos and to cope with his own Justice Department’s investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russian agents meddling in the 2016 election.
The president already has his hands full trying to discredit that probe, and by association Special Counsel Robert Mueller, even as Trump insists he has no intention of firing him. He also has now he has turned against Bannon, his onetime guru.
The catalyst for this bizarre bombshell is a soon-to-be-released insider book on Trump and his administration by free-lance writer Michael Wolff. In it, Bannon is said to have described Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian officials at Trump Tower in 2016 as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” — among other explosive contentions.
In reply to derogatory remarks Bannon made about Trump family members, the president contended that Bannon’s role in his campaign and first months of his administration were overblown. Of his old close adviser he tweeted, “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he has lost his mind.” Bannon, he said, had “very little to do with our historic victory.” Trump also instructed his lawyers to send Bannon and Wolff cease-and-desist letters, citing an alleged breach of a nondisclosure agreement Bannon has supposedly signed.
It’s clear now that Bannon has become another cross for the president to bear among an accumulating list of critics in and out of his Republican Party. After being fired by Trump, Bannon returned to his old job running the alt-right Breitbart News website, which formerly was a conspicuous cheerleader for the president. But now it but has become a vehicle for Bannon’s own political ambitions, including clashes with the Republican Party establishment and national committee that he appears to be targeting for a takeover.
Beyond revealing the breakup itself, Wolff’s book provides a stinging insight into what some White House insiders thought of the president. One fired campaign aide, Sam Nunberg, is quoted as saying he was assigned to tutor Trump on the Constitution. “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment,” he said, “before … his eyes are rolling back in his head.” Bannon himself is said to have commented that Trump’s daughter Ivanka was “dumb as a brick.”
Also, a former deputy chief of staff, Katie Walsh, is quoted as saying that trying to deal with the president was “like trying to figure out what a child wants” — an observation she later denied having made.
Wolff also reports Walsh says she was obliged to respond to three different Trump power centers: Reince Priebus, the first chief of staff, Bannon and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“For Walsh,” Wolff writes, “it was a daily process of managing an impossible task: almost as soon as she received direction from one of the three men, she would be countermanded by one of another of them.”
It was no wonder the Trump White House came off from the outside as a confused madhouse, with a president constantly getting mixed messages and making decisions as an ill-informed neophyte would-be politician.
Whether all the disclosures Wolff has reported are accurate or not, taken together they constitute more tasty morsels for both the conventional news media and the social media platforms Trump himself so favors.
As a new year gets started, there are already more than enough reasons to worry about the state of the union in the era of Donald J. Trump and his merry band of confusion-spinners.
Jules Witcover’s latest book is “The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power.” Send email to email@example.com.
First Lady’s Office Becomes Political Pawn for Trump, Issues Statement Against Samantha Bee
First lady Melania Trump’s office responded to TBS comedian Samantha Bee’s profane tirade against presidential adviser Ivanka Trump by saying it was an example of an “astounding” double standard.
“The double standard is truly astounding. Time and again the Trump family and members of this Administration are subjected to false reporting, hateful rhetoric and outrageous lies all in the name of freedom of speech or comedy, yet the mainstream media stays silent,” her spokesperson said.
Bee had called Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t” in a segment targeting her for posting a photo with her daughter over the weekend.
Strangely despite the office of the First Lady, didn’t actually have the First Lady, Melania Trump saying these things, as she is still missing.
Motel 6 Denies Couple Room Saying Puerto Rican Driver’s License isn’t U.S. ID
A Puerto Rican couple visiting Sacramento County for their niece’s wedding said they were unable to check into a Rancho Cordova Motel 6 because the racist front desk clerk didn’t believe they had valid U.S. identification.
When Raul Villanueva presented his Puerto Rico driver’s license late Wednesday night, the clerk told him, “Oh, you need a license from the United States,” he said.
“I said, ‘This is a license from the United States, that’s Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is the United States.’ She said, ‘No, it isn’t,’” Villanueva recalled.
Villanueva needed his ID in order to verify his reservation. The woman working at the front desk then asked for his and his wife’s passports, which he reluctantly retrieved.
“She wouldn’t take the passports after all,” Villanueva said. “When I brought them she said, ‘No, I won’t take it. I won’t take that.’ So I said, ‘OK, then give me my money back.’”
The couple called Motel 6’s corporate office Thursday and talked to a representative. The person apologized for the mistake and admitted Puerto Rican identification is on their list of accepted IDs.
The couple ended up staying the night with a relative. They still haven’t received their money back from Motel 6.
Border Patrol Turns Against Trump, Calls His Border Plan “Colossal waste.”
The National Border Patrol Council seemingly has turned against Trump, calling Trump’s efforrts to send National Guard troops to the American-Mexican border, nothing but a huge “colossal waste of resources.”
“We have seen no benefit,” said Brandon Judd, president of the union that represents 15,000 agents, the National Border Patrol Council. “We generally support the administration, but we’re not going to be cheerleading when things are not going well,” Judd said.
Additionally, Agent Chris Cabrera, a spokesman for the union in the Rio Grande Valley, said troops are stationed far from the border, duplicating rather than lessening agents’ workload – and often getting in the way and sometimes getting lost.
He points out that most of the troops are just standing around, having to find “busy work.”
Texas Rep. Mary E. Gonzalez, who represents a district outside El Paso, agrees. “The National Guard deployment is a waste of finite resources, and is duplicative of existing border security efforts.”
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