To the extent that there was a plan to take advantage of the first days of his administration, when a president is usually at his maximum leverage, Mr. Trump threw it aside with a decision to lash out about crowd sizes at his swearing in and to rewrite the history of his dealings with intelligence agencies.
The lack of discipline troubled even senior members of Mr. Trump’s circle, some of whom had urged him not to indulge his simmering resentment at what he saw as unfair news coverage. Instead, Mr. Trump chose to listen to other aides who shared his outrage and desire to punch back. By the end of the weekend, he and his team were scrambling to get back on script…
While Mr. Trump was eager to counterattack, several senior advisers urged him to move on and focus on the responsibilities of office during his first full day as president. That included a high-stakes trip to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he had been coached to demonstrate support of the agency and criticize Senate Democrats for delaying confirmation of his nominee to lead it, Mike Pompeo. The advisers left thinking he agreed.
But Mr. Spicer, who often berated reporters for what he called biased coverage during the campaign, shares Mr. Trump’s dark view of the news media and advocated an opening-day declaration of war.