White House blame game intensifies as Trump agenda stalls

After Gary Cohn, the chief White House economic adviser, went on Fox News Sunday this month to talk about the reform push, the media-obsessed president complained bitterly about the appearance, venting that Cohn failed to clearly sell the merits of the plan, according to three people familiar with the matter. (A White House spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, denied that Trump had expressed unhappiness and said he had been “complimentary of Gary’s appearance.”)…

Others say the fault lies with chief of staff Reince Priebus. The former RNC chairman was elevated to his current role because he was seen as a savvy Washington operator whose Capitol Hill relationships, particularly with House Speaker Paul Ryan, would help the newcomer Trump. The health care talks, these people say, reveal the limits of his reach.

Still others pinned blame on Jared Kushner, Trump’s politically moderate son-in-law and senior adviser. As White House staffers struggled to galvanize support for the flagging health care bill, some became convinced that Kushner was working to defeat the repeal effort. Suspicions increased when Kushner invited Obamacare architect Ezekiel Emanuel to address staffers at a meeting on Monday — a gathering that left some staffers rolling their eyes…

The recriminations, however, were not limited to the health care fiasco. For weeks, many staffers have expressed profound unhappiness with a communications office that has struggled to accomplish what it had set out to do: To inoculate a president who is preoccupied with his public image.