“This Shit Is Hard!”

Politico has an in-depth article about what has really been going on these first 100 Days: people are learning that this shit is hard. While there are faint glimmers of hope in the article, they are faint indeed, and fragile, as it is duly pointed out that even a somewhat educated Trump is still Trump.

Interviews with White House officials, friends of Trump, veterans of his campaign and lawmakers paint a picture of a White House that has been slow to adapt to the demands of the most powerful office on earth.

“Everyone is concerned that things are not running that well,” said one senior official. “There should be more structure in place so we know who is working on what and who is responsible for what, instead of everyone freelancing on everything.”

But they’re learning. One key development: White House aides have figured out that it’s best not to present Trump with too many competing options when it comes to matters of policy or strategy. Instead, the way to win Trump over, they say, is to present him a single preferred course of action and then walk him through what the outcome could be – and especially how it will play in the press.

“You don’t walk in with a traditional presentation, like a binder or a PowerPoint. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t consume information that way,” said one senior administration official. “You go in and tell him the pros and cons, and what the media coverage is going to be like.”

Downplaying the downside risk of a decision can win out in the short term. But the risk is a presidential dressing-down—delivered in a yell. “You don’t want to be the person who sold him on something that turned out to be a bad idea,” the person said.

Advisers have tried to curtail Trump’s idle hours, hoping to prevent him from watching cable news or calling old friends and then tweeting about it. That only works during the workday, though—Trump’s evenings and weekends have remained largely his own.


“He has always been a guy who loves the idea of being a royal surrounded by a court,” said Michael D’Antonio, one of Trump’s biographers.


Several senior administration aides said Trump loves nothing more than talking to reporters – no matter what he says about the “failing” New York Times or CNN – and he often seems personally stung by negative coverage, cursing and yelling at the TV. Kushner, too, sometimes calls TV personalities and executives, in particular MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, according to people close to the Trump son-in-law. (It didn’t go unnoticed in the West Wing that, at the height of the Kushner-Bannon war, the Drudge Report and Scarborough’s Morning Joe had an anti-Bannon flair to their coverage.)

If the goal of most administrations has been to set the media agenda for the day, it’s often the reverse in Trump’s White House, where what the president hears on the cable morning gabfests on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN can redirect his attention, schedule and agenda. The three TVs in the chief-of-staff’s office sometimes dictate the 8 a.m. meeting – and are always turned on to cable news, West Wing officials say.


Since taking office, Trump has 16 times tagged Fox and Friends, the network’s morning show, in his tweets, and countless other times weighed in on whatever they were talking about on air. After Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings went on Morning Joe and asked the president to call him, Trump did. After Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher defended Trump in an early Saturday morning Fox News hit, Trump called him moments later, inviting him to an Oval Office meeting. And after news segments, Trump will sometimes call his own advisers to discuss what he saw.


Trump may be learning and adjusting. But he is still Trump. On Saturday, he’ll celebrate his 100th day in office by boycotting the traditional White House Correspondents’ Dinner in favor of a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The rallies, which remind of the campaign trail, often improve his mood, several people close to him say. “I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania,” he tweeted by way of announcement. “Look forward to it!”

Full story at Politico.


  1. Ogvorbis: A bear of very little brains. says

    One of my friends is very, very anti-politician. He supported Trump because, although Trump’s positions were the antithesis of my friend’s political stance, Trump is not a politician. He is not a government professional. He is not a government insider. I tried to argue the rediculousness of his stance by pointing out that when he needed a root canal, he went to a dentist. Ditto for a broken arm and a doctor, a new roof and a roofing contractor, a lawyer when he got sued. But, oh, no, politics and running the government is different — we need someone with no experience, no preconceptions, no political axe to grind to get things moving.

    Talked with him yesterday. He cannot believe how badly Trump is fucking up. A direct quote: “It’s as if he has no idea how government works!” I pointed out that if you want something done, you work with professionals. No matter how successful he was in business (amazing how well someone can do when their entire business plan consists of leveraging debt and screwing over your partners, investors and contractors), Trump has no clue how government actually works. And, unfortunately, at his age, it is very doubtful that he wants to learn how government works.

    I said to my friend, “I told you so.”

    “Yup,” he answered. “But I never dreamed it could be this bad.”

    My friend is one of the 2% who regret voting for the flaming dumpster full of Tang.

  2. says


    A direct quote: “It’s as if he has no idea how government works!”

    :wanders off to gently pound head into wall:

  3. says

    It’s hard and there is also a great ability, within government, to drag feet and put the brakes on. I think the Trumpistas dramatically underestimated the ability of Washington to be passive/aggressive. That actually concerns me, from a standpoint of governance -- it means it’s very easy to appear incompetent and inefficient. On the other hand, as an anarchist, I sort of enjoy watching Big Brother tie his own shoelaces together. If we have to have corrupt evil governments it’s best they be corrupt, evil, and stupid.

  4. Dunc says

    I said to my friend, “I told you so.”

    “Yup,” he answered. “But I never dreamed it could be this bad.”

    And it’s only just begun… It can get a hell of a lot worse yet.

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