On Monday afternoon the president tweeted, “A great day at the White House!”, the social media equivalent of whistling in the dark. “I’m not afraid” it seemed to say. But the jig is up, Trump is scared. After Friday’s most recent failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, and with Trump’s own Republican member John McCain delivering its death blow, it should have been a quiet weekend, perhaps one of reflection for the president, or for any president.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has warned us that when the president gets attacked, “he’s going to hit back.” This first graders approach to conflict resolution is what now passes for normal in the Trump administration. It was no surprise after arguably the worst week of his administration that Trump launched a nearly unprecedented 13 tweets in a single day.
“The arc of the situation so much like a bad romance—a bottle of wine and a long distance Twitter account. To Trump Twitter is the same as a cheap Chablis to a scorned lover.”
Even from my second-story home here in Toronto I could still peer inside the White House, Trump stewing in his all day bathrobe while splayed on the couch, trying to avoid the media coverage, any media coverage as even certain factions of Fox have turned on him. Trump the jilted president, left standing at the alter of public opinion. The arc of the situation so much like a bad romance—a bottle of wine and a long distance Twitter account. To Trump Twitter is the same as a cheap Chablis to a scorned lover. This is a president who, for all intents and purposes, continues to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Amidst his Twitter storm, he had tweeted, “ …No chaos”. By Monday the president seemed to have forgiven those evil trespassers who dared trespass against him and in one bullish glass half-full tweet he announced, “A great day in the White House”. It seemed the president had turned that frown upside down and into a smile. I’m sure there was much reason to celebrate on Monday in light of his past week. Let’s take a peek.
But first, let’s not talk about the fact that his health care bill is dead, and no crash cart on earth will revive it anytime soon. Let’s not talk about the backlash he experienced from the various law enforcement departments across America as they unequivocally distanced themselves from Trump’s “rough” tactics when it comes to suspects in their custody. The New York City Police Department released a statement saying that the application of “any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public.”
“…it’s obvious Trump believes that a Chief of Staff needs to have the ability to snap people to attention…”
Trump would also have to disregard the Boy Scout’s of America press release that also distanced themselves from his comments, shortly after turning what was usually an inspiration speech into a cheap election pitch. We can ignore Reince Priebus, Chief of Staff who resigned, was fired and or otherwise bullied out of a job by Trump, forced to be a cheerleader from the sidelines, no longer part of the big house or the bigger picture. Finally, we can quickly pass over the subject of Trump’s communications director Anthony Scaramucci, the “Mooch”, as he was recently terminated after only 11 days. No chaos.
So, why was Monday “A great day at the White House!” The one thing that perhaps may have brightened the president’s day was the announcement of “tough as nails” retired General John Kelly as his new Chief of Staff, sending a message that Priebus didn’t have the true grit it took to organize a White House. Based on his new hire, it’s obvious Trump believes that a Chief of Staff needs to have the ability to snap people to attention, to make them “toe the line” and to establish the chain of command. The president believes that Kelly, with his military and Homeland Security experience, may be the strong arm that will save Trump’s administration, whose length seems to be growing shorter and short each day. Shorter still if Mueller and the various committees investigating Trump are allowed to do their jobs unobstructed.
But the one element, the crucial cornerstone that the president continually ignores, is the fact that his faltering judgment is really the source of his issues. Trump and his administration have started each and every fire encircling the White House. These are uncontrollable situations caused not by Priebus, or anyone else recently shown the door.
To the president, it may well have seemed like a great day at the White House, but to the American people it was the same day as before- confusion, disappointment, anger. Par for the Mar-a-Lago course of the presidency. Millions wanting for it to simply stop once and for all. The lights are on at the White House, but the president is still very much alone and in the dark.