President Trump is reportedly considering a major shakeup among his senior staff, beginning with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. He should get on that right away.
The way the president and his administration bungled the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey last week shows there are serious problems within the White House. The president gave his communications team a mere one-hour notice of Comey’s imminent firing before making the news public, for fear the information would be leaked to the media, the Associated Press reported.
Trump’s fears were confirmed when The Washington Post published an article just hours after the news broke criticizing the president’s decision to fire Comey and quoting 30 (!) unnamed sources from inside the White House, Justice Department, FBI, and Capitol Hill. In this case, the media’s repeated comparisons of President Trump to President Nixon are apropos — both men are paranoid and distrustful of those around them, but for good reason.
Trump is also reportedly frustrated by a lack of surrogates competently defending him on cable news outlets. He’s even gone so far as to suggest that he might do the press briefings himself and act as his own surrogate. His frustration at the often out-of-control briefings are justified, as Spicer often looks and behaves like a fish-out-of-water on the podium, unable to control the room.
If the buzz is true, and the president does bring in a pack of new communications staffers, they should be quick to remind the president that just because members of the Beltway media are breathlessly freaking out over something doesn’t mean the rest of the country gives a hoot. If a few media personalities and Democrats have fainting spells on national television, that does not justify a defensive, overreactive response from Trump.
For example, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin and many other talking heads said firing Comey, a man whose departure was a long time coming, would go down in history as the darkest moment of Trump’s presidency. In reality, nearly no one really cared about it. Despite the 24/7, wall-to-wall media coverage of Trump’s decision to give Comey the boot, most Americans gave it less heed than Rachael Maddow’s infamous tax return “bombshell” that wasn’t, Axios reported last week.
If the West Wing is indeed hiring, it would also behoove them to select individuals who possess a bit of legislative know-how. Trump’s repeated legislative failures and heavy reliance upon executive orders to execute his agenda demonstrates a lack of understanding when it comes to Congress. Trump’s communications team needs to shore up someone who actually knows how a bill becomes law so they can speak about the president’s legislative goals capably.
Trump’s reactive tweets and decision to continually give interviews defending his reasons for firing the disgraced FBI director seem to stem from distrust. If that’s true, he needs good people around him who are willing and capable of competently defending him. To do that, Trump needs to purge staffers who are leaking to the press and hire people he can rely on.