"[T]his was handled terribly but [there's] not a real sense that we can do much here"

Asked what the strategy was to get through the crisis, one senior administration official laughed and asked whether the reporter was “joking.” This official said aides weren’t as bothered as some might imagine because they had been through so many challenges — from Trump during the campaign saying he grabbed women by the genitals to the now infamous accusations about President Barack Obama ordered a “wire tap” on Trump Tower.

Another White House official said there is a “widespread recognition this was handled terribly but not a real sense that we can do much here.” This person said Trump remains convinced he made the right decision by firing Comey and that he handled it properly — “maybe even more than two days ago.”…

On the night of the announcement, White House officials were left to scramble. “It was chaos, there was no direction, no marching orders, no execution, it was like people were having to learn what to do before they could do it. Instead of knowing what happens in a crisis PR situation, here’s what we’re doing,” said one White House official. This person noted that Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, had crafted a better message and held a news conference within an hour — while it took White House officials three hours to put surrogates on TV.