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A crush of crises all but buries the young Trump White House

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President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON >> Less than a month into his tenure, Donald Trump’s White House is beset by crush of crises.

Divisions, dysfunction and high-profile exits have left the young administration nearly paralyzed and allies wondering how it will reboot. The bold policy moves that marked Trump’s first days in office have slowed to a crawl, a tacit admission that he and his team had not thoroughly prepared an agenda.

Five days after the administration’s signature travel ban was struck down by a federal court, the White House is still struggling to regroup and outline its next move on that signature issue. It’s been six days since Trump — who promised unprecedented levels of immediate action — has announced a major new policy directive or legislative plan.

His team is riven by division and plagued by distractions. This week alone, controversy has forced out both his top national security aide and his pick for labor secretary.

“Another day in paradise,” Trump quipped Wednesday after his meeting with retailers was interrupted by reporters’ questions about links between his campaign staff and Russian officials.

Fellow Republicans have begun voicing their frustration and open anxiety that the Trump White House will derail their high hopes for legislative action.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota on Wednesday demanded that the White House “get past the launch stage.”

“There are things we want to get done here, and we want to have a clear-eyed focus on our agenda, and this constant disruption and drumbeat with these questions that keep being raised is a distraction,” said Thune.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona blasted the White House’s approach to national security as “dysfunctional,” asking, “Who is in charge? I don’t know of anyone outside of the White House who knows.”

Such criticism from allies is rare during what is often viewed as honeymoon period for a new president. But Trump, an outsider who campaigned almost as much against his party as for it, has only a tiny reservoir of good will to protect him. His administration has made uneven attempts to work closely with lawmakers and its own agencies.

Officials have begun trying to change some tactics, and some scenery, with the hope of steadying the ship. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump would hold a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, the first of his term. The president has often mentioned how much he loves adoring crowds and affirmation from his supporters.

To be sure, pinballing from one crisis to the next is not unprecedented, particularly for a White House still finding its footing. But the disruptions that have swirled around Trump achieved hurricane force early and have not let up.

On Wednesday as his choice for labor secretary, fast food CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his nomination while the administration continued to navigate the fallout from the forced resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn was ousted on the grounds that he misled the vice president about his contacts with a Russian ambassador.

Flynn’s departure marked the return of an issue Trump is not likely to move past quickly. The president’s relationship with Moscow will continue to be scrutinized and investigated, sometimes apparently fueled by leaks from within his own administration.

Trump on Wednesday blasted what he called “illegal leaked” information.

Not just leaks, but also legal woes, have derailed Trump’s early efforts.

After the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his immigration ban last week, Trump emphatically tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT!” and the administration vowed that it would re-appeal the block and either revise its original executive order or write a new one from scratch.

But confusion soon followed. After first indicating they would not take a temporary restraining order to the Supreme Court, administration staffers squabbled audibly, behind closed doors, over the accounts emerging in news reports.

When the dust settled, a new statement was printed out and handed to journalists, stating, “to clarify,” that all options were on the table. But, despite Trump’s vow to have a plan in place by Tuesday, one has not emerged.

The collapse of the ban, which poured fuel on simmering staff rivalries, was followed by a period of stark inaction by a White House suddenly put on the defensive. Trump did sign legislation Tuesday that rolled back a financial regulation, but his administration has not issued any executive orders in days.

House Republicans have been nudging the White House to get behind Speaker Paul Ryan’s tax overhaul, which includes a border adjustability plan of which Trump has been skeptical. GOP aides believed they were making progress, but the matter has been overshadowed by the flood of controversies.

Other possible executive actions have been bandied about, from a task force on allegations of voter fraud to steps to strengthen cybersecurity, but have yet to be released. Key legislative items such as a massive plan to rebuild roads and bridges and an overhaul of the tax law remain works in progress.

“He’s a one-man band for all practical purposes, it’s how he ran his business,” said Bill Daley, a former White House chief of staff under Obama. “When you try to take that and everything revolves around that and he is the beginning, middle and end of everything, that is a tough model. His campaign was the same way.”

Trump’s new administration has also been plagued by ethics brushfires that are taking up the time and energy of communications and legal staff members.

In one incident that sparked bipartisan condemnation and calls for ethics investigations, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on TV that people should “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” — an endorsement that came after the president disparaged Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s fashion line. And congressional Republicans also are demanding to know more about the security measures in place at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s weekend White House, where resort members photographed him during a dinnertime national security strategy session after North Korea launched a missile.

“When you are the White House, every day is a crisis. Crisis is routine,” said Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush’s first press secretary. “But when they all come right on top of each other, particularly at the start of an administration, it starts to create the feeling that they don’t know how to run the place.”

52 responses to “A crush of crises all but buries the young Trump White House”

  1. ready2go says:

    Flying back to Florida? This is his 3rd trip in 3 weeks. How much is it costing us?

    • Valleyisle57 says:

      Dont bother asking that question; the Chump will just blame the “media” for everything thats happening!

      • lwandcah says:

        A house of cards ready to collapse. Anyone who thought that it would be any different than what is going on right now, was fooling themselves.

        • Pocho says:

          The Libertards and Democrats are hallucinating scenario’s, lol, they are worse than my significant other who can mindread and expect me to know what she’s thinking.

          Haven’t you Libertards/Democrats learned your “lessons” judging an event before the facts are out? Barry, Jesse, Al, Fredericka, etc. seems to have learned not commenting on this so-called news or is it fake news? Hands Up Don’t Shoot! yep, uh haw, YIKES!

        • TigerEye says:

          That’s the spirit, Pocho. Pull out that frying pan and bash yourself in the forehead with it enough times and everyone around you (including your S.O.) will learn their lesson. That’ll teach ’em.

          If they still give you lip, discard the aluminum job and go for the cast iron.

        • klastri says:

          Pocho – You’re still writing every day about Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?

          Maybe some folks at your next Klan meeting and can give you some names. How about trying that?

    • jusris says:

      And Trumpers will point to the cost of Obamas Vacation to Hawaii…#MAGA

      • seaborn says:

        Obama family flew to Hawaii maybe twice a year, right? For well deserved vacation, and where their family and best friends are live. We’ll see how the total costs compare to Trump’s before he’s impeached… I mean… term comes to an end.
        Awaiting final bill for Melania and Lil’ Trump’s security while they finish out the school year in Trump Tower.

    • klastri says:

      The GAO said the Florida trips costs about $3 million each.

      We’re also paying the costs to secure Trump Tower 24 hours a day. The City is billing the federal government roughly $1 million per day for that. plus Secret Service and DoD costs – all in estimated at $500 million for 2017.

      We’re also paying the costs of security to accompany his adult children on their business trips.

      It’s disgraceful.

  2. bsdetection says:

    Typical of the chaos was Trump’s joint news conference with Netanyahu, which happened 15 minutes after Bibi’s arrival, instead of after they had met and agreed on what they were going to say. Trump was clearly ad-libbing, not having read the briefing binders or absorbed any of the complexities of the Middle East peace issues. In diplomacy, speech is very precise. A slight change in wording can make a huge difference in meaning, and great care is taken when statements are prepared. The National Security Council and the State Department customarily carefully prepare the agendas, the important points to be included in public statements, but in the Trump White House, both of those departments are in a chaotic state of disarray. Trump, with his 6th grade vocabulary and his lack of preparation, blundered through the presser, obviously having no idea how badly he had performed. One-state? Two-states? Who cares? Bibi could only laugh at the buffoon at the other podium.

  3. Dai says:

    Trumpy is creating his own problems. He might not have yet comprehended the scope of his responsibilities. Going back to Florida for the third time since his inauguration is kind of a bit much, no?
    I was completely confused about what is going on with Bebe. Trump looks at Bebe and tells him slow down on the settlements Bebe wants to build. Then he mentioned he’s ok with whatever Bebe wants to do with Israel and Palestine. One state, two state is ok with me. Whatever you want.
    Wow, real leadership here.
    The issue with the Russians won’t go away anytime soon. Seems like members of congress is looking at the steps for removal. Scary times.
    Not sure about the rest of the country but I’m embarrassed like hell! It hasn’t even been a month and our country is rocked with controversy. We can’t even tell a decent story about anything that is asked!
    Humpy Trumpy sat on a wall….I pray he got his seat belt on!

    • mctruck says:

      Next, Trump will push for Texas to secede from the Union. And allow for Texas to build for their own wall encircling the whole state of Texas, and have Mexico pay for it.

      • bsdetection says:

        Let me know where I can donate to help build a wall around Texas.

        • sarge22 says:

          Over the past two weeks, with the president’s immigration policies and Russia ties dominating headlines, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has been setting new highs regularly.

    • Cricket_Amos says:

      “he’s ok with whatever Bebe wants to do with Israel and Palestine”

      No, I think he said he’s OK with anything the two of them might agree on

      “I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” he said.”

      • bsdetection says:

        A profoundly stupid comment indicating the absence of leadership, knowledge, and preparation.

        • sarge22 says:

          In your own small mind.

        • NP5491 says:

          bsdetection> I truly believe that a person can only see the truth that in front of him and sometimes the shining light of truth may blind that person. Is this what has happened to you? You insult CRICKET’s post, but what was said in the PC stated by CRICKET is accurate and not FAKE NEWS.

        • bsdetection says:

          My post was intended to comment on the Trump quotation that Cricket Amos cited. My point was that Trump displayed profound stupidity.

  4. Dai says:

    btw….he’s going back for a rally! for what I don’t know.

  5. mctruck says:

    Looking at this photo of VP Pence; he’s got that, “what did I get myself into look?”

  6. 64hoo says:

    AP B.S. trump will be okay its the judge in Seattle and the ninth jerkit court of slameals that broke the law of title 8 U.S. code 1185 and 1182 where trump had every right to ban travel to aliens that come in this country, according to U.S. codes, it was in 1952 that congress passed this title and the POTUS signed it. it does give trump the power to do what he did, look up the titles and code and you will learn something. GO TRUMP!

    • klastri says:

      And in walks the genius.

      Laws cannot override the Constitution. Not ever.

      Learn something today. Please.

      • 64hoo says:

        this law has nothing to do with the constitution its a legal law and the constitution and bill of rights are for citizens only of the United States foreigners and aliens coming into this country or living here do not have rights as a U.S. citizen they earned there way to become citizens of this country and get those rights so the POTUS had every right to ban people from coming in from any terrorist state its the law of the land and has nothing to do with the constitution.

      • 64hoo says:

        the law school you went to sure taught you nothing about the constitution or the bill of rights. you stuff is all made up.

      • 64hoo says:

        also klassless not anywhere in the constitution amendments and bill of rights, it does not say that foreigners or aliens have these rights visiting or living in the U.S, the constitution and bill of rights is only for U.S. citizens that have these rights, but I guess all these liberals from judges to everyone else is all made up stuff that’s not in the constitution or bill of rights

  7. bsdetection says:

    Congressional Republicans are desperately running away from any investigation of the Trump/Russia relationship. They must be afraid of something, and, because some of them sit on committees that have been briefed by the FBI and the intelligence services, we can assume that they know information that they don’t want the public to know. Their resistance to an independent commission is the big tipoff. As long as the investigations remain in committees that they control, their best case scenario is that they have a chance of limiting how much information is released to the public.

    • sarge22 says:

      You better lay off the meds. Your bitter defeat is getting the best of you. Eight great years ahead.

    • NP5491 says:

      bsdetection> This US/Russia thing is being taken way off course. The most important thing is to dump Obamacare, which the REPs are preparing to do. They do have a plan that they are fine tuning prior to submitting it for due process. The next big thing is to catch the “spy/mole” in the intel service that has been leaking all of this classified info. I hope that person has a long term health care plan. Under Title 18 USC Chap 37 SS 798, is the law by which that person(s) will be punished. What is also wrong is that you are making an ASSUMPTION, and you know how that goes.

      • klastri says:

        NP5491 – You apparently don’t read very much. When was the last time you heard any Republican talk about dumping Obamacare? They aren’t going to do that. Their offices are being overrun with their constituents who don’t want to lose care.

        They don’t have a plan after eight years of whining. Nothing. Zero.

        Yet another in a long string of Trump lies.

        • NP5491 says:

          Klastri> Did you just learn that today yourself? Intriguing to note your expansive knowledge of what a “White Nationalist Holiday” was. I looked at my calendar and there was no indication that a holiday was to take place, except for Presidents Day on Monday, Feb,20, 2017. Unless I am mistaken do you mean that this is what you call “White Nationalist Holiday?” Wow, you really hate a lot of things, like POTUS, people who don’t think as you do, and others. I did learn something today ABOUT YOU.

        • NP5491 says:

          Klastri> You better get a grip on yourself. The House of Reps is working on their replacement for Obamacare, haven’t you heard the news. They are fine tuning it and getting ready to submit it for action. What you had posted is nothing but “fake news.” You did insult my honesty and my intelligence. You really hurt my feelings. You should be ashamed of yourself, bully!!!!!

  8. roughrider says:

    During a joint press conference today with Israel PM Netanyahu, a reporter asked Trump a question about the “sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents across the United States” since his election.

    Trump responded:
    “Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had — 316 electoral college votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270. And there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there …”

    Huh? Ignorance? Narcissism? Lost in space? Answer the #&#@! question, Mr. President.

  9. yogaman says:

    I can’t believe how much the hates Trump that they are willing to take the country down into the toilet to get rid of him. Love him or hate him, we need to support the POTUS. This country cannot afford anarchy. The media is provoking this by not giving President Trump a fair chance to lead this country.

    • inverse says:

      Trying to be like Papa Midnite in Constantine who was neutral in the battle between heaven and hell but right now Trump and his inner leadership are shooting themselves in their own foot and NOT the media. The Flynn / Pence / Russia LYING disaster directly impacts US and national security and an investigation is warranted. Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied about gettin’ down in the Whitehouse but NOT with his wife. This secret Russian connection between Flynn and possibly others in the Trump administration is much worse and the public deserves to know the truth, wherever that leads. If the local media in Hawaii was doing its job, the Oahu rail project would have NEVER have gone as far as it did and waste as much money as it has with Hawaii and federal taxpayer dollars.

      • nalogirl says:

        The disaster was and still is the LEAKS! If the media continues to vilify Trump,, these leakers will be more bold and could jeopordize our country, but you Trump hatred could care less about our country. Trump needs to get these leakers and have them prosecuted.

  10. yogaman says:

    I can’t believe how much the media hates Trump that they are willing to take the country down into the toilet to get rid of him. Love him or hate him, we need to support the POTUS. This country cannot afford anarchy. The media is provoking this by not giving President Trump a fair chance to lead this country.

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