Even at this point, the incompetence of the Trump administration never ceases to amaze
So much for the positive influence of Jared and Ivanka
We seem to keep trying to ascribe some level of competence or normality upon the Trump Presidency. Such efforts are akin to a child anthropomorphizing animals — because we humans want to see human behavior in animals, we attribute human motivation to them. But just as animals rarely think like humans, so too does the Trump administration rarely behave like a normal, competent White House.
Consider the most recent effort. In yesterday’s The New York Times, political scientist Matthew Dickinson argued that there is a strategy behind Trump’s decision to replace his Chief of Staff John Kelly at this time. He asserted that like most other White Houses at this point in their term, the Trump administration is getting ready for the re-election campaign.
But as usual with Donald Trump, there is no strategy. This is just a group of grifters who ended up in the most powerful position in the world through criminal activity and a cosmic joke. Ivanka, who many once hoped would be a moderating influence on her father, has turned out to be a rapacious influence interested only in her own enrichment. And even Melania, who many on the left imagined to be secretly appalled by her husband, has shown herself to be uncaring and tone deaf, just like the rest of the administration. Remember her “I really don’t care, do you” jacket from her trip to visit children separated from their parents at the Mexican border?
The most amazing thing about this administration is that it has yet to face a real crisis. Just imagine the incompetence if Trump faced a 9–11 or a collapse of Lehman Brothers or a war. Even without real problems, the Trump White House continues to be a fiasco.
Despite Matthew Dickinson’s column to the contrary, there was no strategy behind Trump’s firing of John Kelly. Evidence of this fact comes from the subsequent refusal of the job by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers. Now the administration must scramble around like a chicken with a head cut off to fill this critical position just as the White House should be gearing up for re-election. And just remember that even now, of the 705 positions the President must nominate for Senate confirmation, still 124 remain without even a nominee.
The situation becomes even more ridiculous when we realize that Ivanka and Jared, whose style had been cramped by Kelly’s military administrative demeanor, had been lobbying for months to replace Kelly with Ayers. In other words, they were pushing to give Ayers Kelly’s job without talking to Ayers first. Incompetence! They should have at least made sure Ayers was up for the job before they publicly got rid of Kelly.
Politics is often a game of managing perceptions. A famous story involves the time Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev gave a speech at the United Nations in which he claimed that “we will bury you.” Krushchev was an amazing politician, having emerged as leader out of the chaos following Stalin’s death, as Armando Iannucci dramatized in his film. During the speech, Krushchev pounded the podium with his shoe for effect. But someone observed that at the time, Krushchev was wearing both shoes.
The Trump Chief of Staff fiasco that is still unfolding would be tantamount to Krushchev showing up at the United Nations to give his speech only to realize when he reached for his shoe that he was barefoot. That analogy seems ridiculous, but ridiculous is standard operating procedure in the Trump White House.
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