Today, Donald Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving, and West Wing aides are bracing for the inevitable tweet storms that accompany his unsupervised time in Palm Beach. As the release of Robert Mueller’s report draws closer, and House Democrats hone plans to launch investigations, Trump has been responding in increasingly erratic ways. Recently, his frustration has boiled over in a series of bizarre interviews, during which he talked about the Finnish president’s advice on raking forests and vowed to create a “great climate.”
Following the sting of the midterms—which Trump still insists were a victory—staff housecleaning was supposed to provide some satisfaction. After the defenestration of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, next on the hit list was Trump’s long-suffering chief of staff, John Kelly, possibly accompanied by Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen. Kelly has managed to hang on in part because there was never an obvious replacement. But last week, it appeared Trump had finally settled on Nick Ayers, Mike Pence’s 36-year-old chief of staff.