"Looking like a liar or a fool": What it means to work for Trump

After the “Access Hollywood” scandal, Mr. Trump raged at Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, for going on TV to defend him, arguing that he wanted to attack Hillary Clinton, not play defense. Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign manager until he fired him, repeatedly groused to friends that he was forced to absorb all of the criticism for the campaign’s practice of confining reporters at rallies in small pens. Mr. Trump, he told two people close to him, had ordered him to do it — but placed the blame on Mr. Lewandowski when reporters complained about it…

“Trump is putting a lot on the backs of his spokespeople, while simultaneously cutting their legs out from underneath them,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist and a former adviser to Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida. “There is nothing more discouraging or embarrassing for a spokesman than to have your boss contradict you. In political communications, you’re only as good as your credibility.”…

The president, said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, “resembles a quarterback who doesn’t call a huddle and gets ahead of his offensive line so nobody can block him and defend him because nobody knows what the play is.”…

“But it minimizes the ability of the presidency to both protect him from mistakes and to maximize his strengths,” said Mr. Gingrich, who is working on a biography of Mr. Trump. “At some point, I hope he’s going to learn that taking one extra day, having the entire team lined up. I don’t think he always helps himself. I think 10 percent less Trump would be a hundred percent more effective.”