To say that the Trump administration has been marked by chaos would be an understatement. Trump has set a record with the rate at which he lost senior staff members during his first year in office, and that rate has shown little sign of slowing down as the president has entered his second year in office. Already this year he’s lost officials ranging from White House communications director Hope Hicks to his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn.
A new report from Vanity Fair, however, indicates that the president couldn’t care less about these departures. In fact, according to the report, he’s looking to push out more officials in coming weeks.
The officials whose positions are on the chopping block include White House chief of staff John Kelly and the president’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. Both men are themselves replacements, having come on in the wake of the departure of their respective immediate predecessors, Reince Priebus and Michael Flynn.
Flynn’s departure could likely be the one considered more notorious between the two; he went on to eventually plead guilty to lying to the FBI about communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. He’s now cooperating with Special Counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller.
The official reason for Flynn having left the White House in the first place last year was that it was unacceptable for him to have lied to the vice president about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
The issues that Trump has with Kelly and McMaster are of a different sort. The report about the matter from Vanity Fair is hardly far-fetched in its assertion that the president bristles under the attempts of any one of his staffers to rein in his behavior.
One anonymous Republican insider told reporter Gabriel Sherman that the president is “frustrated by all these people telling him what to do.”
The president has lashed out in light of these reported feelings on his part recently through such means as imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and blindsiding senior staff via accepting an invitation from North Korea’s Kim Jong-un for a meeting.
As the unnamed individual close to the White House added:
‘Trump is in command. He’s been in the job more than a year now. He knows how the levers of power work. He doesn’t give a fuck.’
Trump reportedly plans to interview an unspecified selection of candidates for the jobs of both national security adviser and chief of staff when he visits his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend.
Other senior White House officials to be seemingly soon on their way out are the president’s family members and unpaid advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
Kushner has already recently experienced a significant undercut to his position in D.C. through having his top secret security clearance stripped away.
For now, though, he’s still on at the White House, even though his abilities are now limited by what information he can and can’t access. His wife, Ivanka Trump, doesn’t have a top secret security clearance either.
Vanity Fair reports that the president is mulling over pressuring out senior staff members in the face of pressure building because of the midterm elections later this year. Democrats hope to be able to pick up enough seats to become the majority party in at least one if not both houses of Congress, and the polls are currently on their side.
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