But Kushner’s in charge of the entire government! Is no one safe from the king’s wrath?
This episode of “Game of Thrones” won’t end, suggests Drew McCoy, until Jared is sent packing and Ivanka is forced to marry a more suitable prince.
Mr. Trump’s appetite for chaos, coupled with his disregard for the self-protective conventions of the presidency, have left his staff confused and squabbling. And his own mood, according to two advisers who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has become sour and dark, turning against most of his aides — even his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — and describing them in a fury as “incompetent,” according to one of those advisers.
Good news for nationalists. Last month it looked like Kushner had won the power struggle with Steve Bannon, leaving populism sidelined and globalism set to dominate Trump’s administration. The catch for Kushner and Gary Cohn, leaders of the “Democratic” wing of Trump’s advisors, was that that probably also left them on the hook in Trump’s mind for all of the political misery he’s experienced over the last few weeks, self-inflicted or not. Either he’ll give Bannon another shot now or he’ll purge everyone and start fresh with a “dream team” cabinet — Giuliani, Chris Christie, Gingrich, Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski. Alex Jones for press secretary. Maybe bring back Mike Flynn. Total base strategy. He tried things the establishment’s way. Now it’s his way.
Expect H.R. McMaster to be liquidated in the purge too:
There is a fear among some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers about leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn. General McMaster, in particular, has tried to insert caveats or gentle corrections into conversations when he believes the president is straying off topic or onto boggy diplomatic ground.
This has, at times, chafed the president, according to two officials with knowledge of the situation. Mr. Trump, who still openly laments having to dismiss his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, has groused that General McMaster talks too much in meetings, and the president has referred to him as “a pain,” according to one of the officials.
Those are two short paragraphs but they jibe with what Eli Lake reported last week about McMaster being on thin ice. Per Lake, Trump blew up at McMaster for going over his head and phoning South Korean leaders to reassure them that Trump was wrong when he said that country would need to pay up for the THAAD missile defense system. McMaster also reportedly irritated the president “by not giving him a chance to ask questions during briefings, at times even lecturing Trump.” Our NSA is an academic who seems convinced that his boss doesn’t understand much about foreign policy and national security; our president is an alpha male who doesn’t like being made to feel like a subordinate, however legitimate McMaster’s concerns. (Three officials told the Times that Trump couldn’t have leaked “sources and methods” intel to the Russians because he’s “a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials” and “simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering” to do so.) This relationship can’t last for very long, at least not this way. Either McMaster’s going to back off and risk Trump committing more miscues or he’s going to continue to be pushy to try to shepherd Trump through his natsec interactions and he’ll end up being fired for it.
Exit quotation via the Hill: “Trump World has a blunt message for the president: empower your staff or hire a new one.”