Demoralized West Wing stokes fears over Trump’s capacity to handle a crisis

Administration officials and outsiders with windows into decision-making describe a growing sense of despair within Trump’s ranks, driven by the mounting realization that the president’s brand of politics guided by intuition and improvisation is incompatible with a competently functioning executive branch.

Most alarming, by these lights, is mounting evidence that Trump lacks an attribute possessed by most previous presidents and certainly by all the most successful ones: a capacity for self-critique and self-correction…

If such a thing happened today, Trump would face crisis with deep demoralization and discord within his ranks, backed by advisers who consider him erratic, a national security adviser (H.R. McMaster) and economic adviser (Gary Cohn) who are both rumored to be eyeing the exits or being pushed that way by others, and a White House chief of staff in John Kelly, whose relationship with Trump is being frayed to near the breaking point.

All three of these men were once described as steadying forces for a president who likes to wing it on instinct. But all three are described by administration officials as wondering whether Trump is impervious to discipline.

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